Cone Health Begins New Testing For Quicker COVID-19 Test Results
Greensboro-based Cone Health is changing the process for COVID-19 testing. This comes as the system is seeing an increase in the number of patients admitted for the coronavirus.
Cone Health officials say the hospital group has less patient volume overall than it normally does this time of year. That’s because it has postponed non-urgent surgeries, telehealth appointments are up, and there’s less foot traffic in emergency room departments.
But the number of COVID-19 patients at Cone Health has spiked over the last several days. This week, the number is in the mid-30s.
Dr. Bruce Swords, chief physician executive for the system, says they've received rapid test kits from their lab partners, which allows an in-house process.
"A few weeks ago, we might wait three or four days to receive the results of a COVID-19 test," says Swords. "The status of that patient was unknown and so we used PPE [personal protective equipment] during that entire hospitalization. Whereas today, we can turn that test around really in a matter of hours, two hours or so, and so it allows us not to use PPE unnecessarily for several days.“
Swords believes social distancing and stay-at-home orders are also helping healthcare systems conserve PPE usage and prevent the spread of the virus.
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