Rapid COVID-19 Testing Underway For All Patient Admittance To PeaceHealth Hospitals
Peacehealth Oregon has begun testing patients for COVID-19 who come in with an emergency that requires hospitalization. The medical system uses “point of care” tests to quickly identify carriers of the virus and stop potential spread.
It might be a heart attack or a bowel obstruction that brings a patient to the ER. But before they are admitted to a PeaceHealth hospital, they’ll get a nasal swab test. Results come back in under an hour.
Dr. James McGovern is Vice President of Medical Affairs for PeaceHealth Oregon.
“The point of knowing, especially for asymptomatic carriers, whether they have COVID or not, is really for staff protection,” he said.
McGovern says the PeaceHealth system purchased the rapid tests from a private company and divvied them up to all 10 of its hospitals. And as is the case everywhere, they’re limited.
“We just don’t have enough to test the community. So we’ve just been emphasizing ‘please don’t come to the emergency department for a COVID test.”
If a patient needing hospitalization tests positive, McGovern says there are special units where they will be isolated and treated.
He added that PeaceHealth Medical Center at RiverBend in Springfield decommissioned 36 beds in anticipation of an influx of patients during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
However, the need for such a large COVID-19 Unit has thus far not been necessary in Lane County. Because there is no treatment, most people with suffering from the virus have been advised to "weather the storm" at home.
Rapid tests will be reserved for those patients in eminent need of surgery or other emergency treatment. Those to be admitted for pre-planned procedures, such as Cesarean Section (C-Section,) will be tested with PCR, a method to detect the presence of the virus, with a longer turn around time of a few days.