RAPID CITY, S.D. (KELO) — Monument Health in Rapid City started its own processing of COVID-19 tests for hospitalized patients who have possible COVID-19 symptoms, the healthcare organization said in a news release.
The initial quantity of kits available is small, so local testing at this point will only be used for hospitalized patients who have possible COVID-19 symptoms, Monument’s Rapid City vice president for operations Michelle Stevens said in the news release.
Sixteen of the 45-minute PCR (polymerase chain reaction) can be run at one time in the Rapid City lab, according to the news release.
“It’s important to find out as quickly as possible if these patients have contracted the disease, she added, in part because caregivers and physicians must follow strict isolation procedures until the patient’s COVID-19 status is determined,” Stephens said. “Caregivers must wear personal protective equipment (PPE) each time they enter the patient’s room until the results come back. PPE is in short supply, and as the pandemic progresses more will be needed.”
For suspected COVID-19 cases involving patients who are not hospitalized, samples will continue to be sent to Mayo Clinic for processing. The turnaround time for Mayo Clinic results is generally 36 hours.
Stephens said in the release that Monument hopes to expand the number of patients eligible for test processing in Rapid City as more test kits become available.
Those who believe they may have COVID-19 but are not hospitalized, should call Monument Health’s Nurse Triage Line at 605-755-1350 to determine if testing is necessary.
Overall, the criteria for any COVID-19 testing, based on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, remain the same. The patient must have symptoms of cough, fever and shortness of breath. In addition, they must be a hospital patient, a resident of a nursing home, a health care worker, a first responder or suffering from a chronic illness such as pulmonary disease, cardiac disease or any illness that compromises the immune system. The patient will also be asked if they have had close contact with a lab-confirmed case of COVID-19.