The Sarasota Journal

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SMH now performing COVID-19 tests in-house

From Sarasota Memorial Hospital
Last week, Sarasota Memorial Hospital received a much-awaited shipment of testing supplies to begin processing COVID-19 tests for admitted patients in the hospital.
The in-house testing allows the hospital to obtain results in under two hours, 24 hours a day, rather than waiting for results to be returned from outside labs. Depending on the capacity of the outside labs, results have taken anywhere from 24 hours to more than 10 days.
“It makes a huge difference, especially when we can turn it around so quickly,” Harold Vore, director of Laboratory Services for SMH, said.
Vore added, “It allows us to conserve personal protective equipment, which is very important right now. It also reduces tremendous amounts of stress on the patient and the staff taking care of the patient. They no longer have to go into isolation if they are negative. It’s a big win for us and a big win for our patients.”
Due to limited availability of supplies, SMH is in-house testing about 25-30 inpatients a day, with priority given to those in critical and time-sensitive situations. SMH is using the Cepheid GeneXpert System, which features polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methodology that the hospital has been using for eight years. PCR tests work by detecting specific genetic material within the virus. The COVID test is an addition to more than 20 PCR modules used by hospitals worldwide to test for flu, strep, RSV, MRSA and other infectious diseases.
The hospital will continue to use outside labs if needed.
Warren Richardson
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