Did you know that this week is the 45th Annual Medical Laboratory Professionals Week? Medical lab professionals are some of the unsung, behind-the-scenes folks who are critical to the medical community. These lab professionals across Washington state and nation are processing tests every day, including COVID-19 tests. There is no better time to celebrate these thousands of dedicated workers to support the health of patients and communities across our country.

According to the American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science (ASCL), medical laboratory science professionals are vital healthcare detectives, who uncover and provide laboratory information from laboratory analyses that assist in patient diagnosis and treatment. They also assist in disease monitoring or prevention. Using sophisticated biomedical instrumentation and technology, and computers, they perform laboratory testing on blood and other body fluids. 

Laboratory testing disciplines include clinical chemistry, hematology, immunology, immunohematology, microbiology, and molecular biology. Medical laboratory science professionals generate accurate laboratory data that are needed to aid in detecting cancer, heart attacks, diabetes, infectious mononucleosis, drug abuse—as well as infectious diseases like COVID-19. 

In our local Kitsap County response to COVID-19, more than 120 different labs have performed tests for Kitsap residents over this past year. We thank the medical laboratory professionals who are working hard behind the scenes to fight the COVID-19 pandemic and recognize critical work.