Spencer Hospital Acquires Limited Supplies for Rapid COVID-19 Testing

posted on Thursday, April 16, 2020 in COVID-19

Spencer Hospital is one of 13 sites in Iowa which the State Hygienic Laboratory issued an Abbott ID Now analyzer which allows for a rapid COVID-19 test to be performed locally.

“This new testing method is a positive development and a step in the right direction; however, testing supplies for this platform are significantly limited and provided on allocation by federal and state governments,” explained Jordan Reed, Spencer Hospital laboratory director.

He added: “When Spencer Hospital receives a request for a COVID-19 test, that request is immediately reviewed by a team of hospital staff and physicians to determine the most appropriate testing method we have available, whether it’s use of one of the limited-supply rapid tests or if it’s more appropriate to send the test sample to the state lab or Avera reference lab. This process helps to appropriately use medical testing supplies, protect healthcare staff, and conserve other important resources like personal protective equipment.”

The Abbott analyzer uses a rapid molecular test which can provide positive results within five minutes and negative results within 13 minutes. This method of testing was provided to Spencer Hospital and other hospitals and healthcare facilities throughout the state by the Iowa Department of Public Health and the State Hygienic Lab. To determine where to place these analyzers, the state looked at the location’s proximity to testing, population of the elderly, number of long term care facilities in the area, hospital capacity, and healthcare service area.

“While local and state testing capabilities are improved, it is important for everyone to understand that testing supplies continue to be limited,” Reed said. “As a result, the volume of tests needed that would allow children to return to school, business to open, and friends to meet again, simply are not available. The ability to quickly and effectively test a larger portion of the population will be a vital component in lifting current restrictions in place to slow the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus and prevent a COVID-19 outbreak. Until that time, it continues to be vitally important to continue to follow public health guidance, such as social distancing, in order to protect our families, friends, neighbors, and community.”