Michigan Coronavirus: UP Health System-Marquette announces in-house COVID-19 testing for patients

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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – UP Health System-Marquette announced on Friday that it has developed an in-house molecular test to help diagnose patients and employees with novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In an effort to help address limited COVID-19 testing capacity and provide more timely results for patients, UP Health System-Marquette has been analyzing test results in its in-house laboratory for the past several weeks.

This capability greatly increases the scope and speed of COVID-19 testing available locally as compared with other commercial laboratories in the region. Access to faster, more efficient test results translates to better care for patients and enhanced safety for healthcare workers on the front lines. It also enables providers to make more informed decisions on how to treat patients and helps optimize the hospital’s supply of personal protective equipment.

“As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of diagnostic testing is critical in helping to identify and control the spread of this illness,” said Gar Atchison, chief executive officer (CEO) of UPHS-Marquette. “Our in-house testing capabilities provide a 24-hour turnaround for results, compared to the average 7-10 days for other external labs. This expedited process puts us ahead of the curve and helps ensure we can better serve our patients and support our staff.”

Due to state testing priority guidelines, in-house COVID-19 testing and analysis is limited to individuals who meet certain criteria, including:

  • Healthcare workers;
  • Patients who have been admitted to a hospital;
  • Individuals presenting to the Emergency Department who are suspected to have COVID-19, or who will require hospitalization; and
  • Patients who require emergency surgery from high-risk facilities.

The in-house testing will also be used for patients who are scheduled for elective surgeries and procedures once those resume at the hospital.

“Our laboratory was able to bring testing for COVID-19 in-house because we have highly qualified staff members who appropriately adapted our equipment protocols and innovative technology to help meet this important need,” said Polly Hockberger, UPHS-Marquette Laboratory Director. “We are pleased to be able to effectively leverage the advanced capabilities of our lab, especially during this public health emergency.”

April 19-25, 2020 also marks Medical Laboratory Professionals Week, an annual celebration of medical laboratory professionals and pathologists who play a vital role in healthcare and patient advocacy. Scientists across the world are intimately involved with COVID-19 testing, and UP Health System-Marquette says they are proud of the work that their healthcare heroes are conducting in our community. The UPHS-Marquette laboratory team consists of more than 115 highly skilled professionals, who have a wide array of specialties in the areas of transfusion services, pathology, microbiology, chemistry, hematology, histology, cytogenetics, flow cytometry, phlebotomy, and blood donation.

For more information, visit www.mgh.org or call 906-449-3000.

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