The testing for COVID-19, the novel coronavirus responsible for our current pandemic, will be conducted at the UC Health Precision Medicine Laboratory located at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The test is a modification of the assay developed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for which an Emergency Use Authorization has been issued by the FDA.
“We are glad to be able to start in-house testing for our patients in order to improve time from test to results,” said George Smulian, MD, Ward E. Bullock Professor of Infectious Diseases and director of the Division of Infectious Diseases in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine and a UC Health physician. ”Expedited access to results also allows us to conserve our personal protective equipment by allowing us to use these resources when people truly need it.”
In-house testing will initially be limited to inpatients within UC Health hospitals, including the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, West Chester Hospital and Daniel Drake Center for Post-Acute Care. The test must be ordered by a physician providing care for a patient at one of these facilities. UC Health will continue to utilize outside laboratories for other COVID-19 test specimens.
The UC Health laboratory is able to test specimens collected via nasopharyngeal swab in viral transport media. The anticipated turnaround time for test results is between one and three days.
“Our pathology and laboratory medicine experts (Drs. Dillehay-McKillip, Hodges, and Powell) have been working tirelessly to equip the UC Health Precision Medicine Laboratory to provide this testing,” said Dani Zander, MD, chief of pathology and laboratory medicine for UC Health and MacKenzie Chair and Professor of Pathology at the UC College of Medicine.
In addition to testing samples collected within UC Health facilities, the health system provides drive-thru sample collection on its Clifton campus by appointment only. Due to limited testing supplies, drive-thru testing is currently only available to healthcare workers and first responders.