The Cowichan District Hospital has opened up a new echocardiogram lab.

Cowichan District Hospital Foundation Chair Alison Taylor says the lab cost 310 thousand dollars and will be used to check the heart as well as causes of stroke.

She says having the ability to run tests locally will help Cowichan Valley residents that had to travel to Victoria to get tests done in the past.

Taylor says the goal is to reduce wait times for tests, which currently can range from six months to a full year. She says once they are fully staffed, there should be a capacity increase of 10 per cent.