Kalispell -- Advanced testing for COVID-19 is happening right here in Montana. 

The Kalispell Regional Healthcare hospital is the first and only hospital in the state to have it.

The new technology is typically only used by research institutions and is considered the most accurate test available for detecting COVID-19.

When the pandemic hit, the hospital's board members decided early on that accurate and timely testing is critical.

They teamed up with a Missoula biotechnology company, who helped them pick the best platform to invest in.

Director of Laboratory Services for the hospital, Adam Birks, said the new PRC test allows them to detect the virus earlier then any other test.

"It's a PCR base, so we are looking for the Coronavirus RNA. We're extracting the RNA from the sample and amplifying that," Birks said. "We're actually going to make DNA from the RNA. We're going to amplify that DNA to a billion copies so we can detect that," Birks said.

It can test up to 100 samples at a time, with better accuracy than any other test.

"When you're looking at Coronavirus, you don't really want to call anybody negative that's positive right? So the PCR's definitely a definitive. The antigen tests are missing some positives and we don't want to do that," he said.

In the first two weeks of getting the technology, KRH was able to test over 3,000 people, which is more than the total amount of tests they did from March to August.

The technology is also highly customizable, giving them the ability to test other diseases that come up in the future. 

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