Trinity Health System Sees Sharp Jump in COVID Testing
December 7, 2020 – With Jefferson county remaining in the “red zone” for coronavirus infections, the number of COVID-19 tests being done at Trinity Health System has also seen a sharp jump. “Since April, we have been offering in-house COVID-19 testing for our patients”, said Dr. Himanshu Doshi, Chairman & Medical Director of Trinity Health System Laboratory. “Back in the summer months we were testing 150-200 patients a week while over last several weeks we have seen those numbers increase to over 150 tests being done in a single day. We are seeing the most serious surge of the virus since its beginning. All summer, we have been preparing for this and praying that it would not happen”, Dr. Doshi said.
Over the summer, Trinity acquired a higher capacity RT-PCR machine, which can run up-to 90 tests at a time. “There are days when we are running 2-3 runs of tests in a single day. We have dedicated microbiology technologists to just run this highly complex test. Currently we have 3 separate platforms (different machines) which can run the RT-PCR tests.” Turn-around time for getting test results is 24 hours in most cases. This is in sharp contrast to most other laboratories where it takes much longer to get the results.
Dr. Mark Kissinger, The Medical Director of Jefferson County Health Department said “From a public health standpoint, one of the biggest difficulties in this pandemic has been timely identification of COVID positive patients. Through the efforts of Dr. Doshi and the Trinity Lab staff, we have had test results much faster than other local hospitals and reference laboratories. This has allowed us to identify patients much faster. The faster results have led to appropriate isolation of positive patients in order to decrease spread of the disease. It also allows us to have close follow-up with positive patients so we can attend to needs that may arise.”
Dr. Doshi continued saying “The Franciscan University Professors Dr. Joseph Pathakamuri and Dr. Daniel Kuebler have provided invaluable help in increasing our testing to large volume. We are using the Robotic RNA extractor equipment on loan from the University for the testing. This has cut down on the time it takes to run the test. Both Drs. Pathakamuri and Kuebler helped in setting up the test and also loaned us initial RT-PCR equipment before we acquired our own machine. They are also always available for trouble-shooting for this complicated test. It has been a great team effort”.
Theresa Clark, Market Director of Trinity Laboratory Services added “the challenge we are facing right now is in getting all the supplies needed to run the test. All consumables from pipette tips to plates to actual reagents used for testing are in short supply. With careful pre-planning, help from our parent organization CommonSpirit Health and help from the Franciscan University, so far we have been able to meet the needs of the community”.
“It’s important to note that none of this would be possible without our staff,” noted Matt Grimshaw, President & CEO. “I’d like to recognize our dedicated microbiology staff particularly Diane Harris, the section supervisor and Amanda Gaston and Joe Brinskey the microbiology technologists who are our COVID-warriors and run the actual tests every day”.
Trinity Health System recently opened a COVID Drive Through Evaluation Clinic located at our East Campus. Individuals can be evaluated in their car by a provider and receive the COVID test if applicable. COVID testing is also available at the clinic with a valid physician’s order. There is no copay or out of pocket cost for the COVID testing at the hospital.
About Trinity Health System: Trinity Health System provides care to a service area of just over 200,000 individuals. Accredited by the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Hospitals, a member of the American Hospital Association, Voluntary Hospitals of America and the Catholic Hospital Association, Trinity Health System offers a full array of acute and outpatient services on three campuses. Trinity Health System has a Medical Group Enterprise with primary care and specialty providers located throughout the service area.
Trinity Health System is part of CommonSpirit Health, a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 through the alignment of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. CommonSpirit Health is committed to creating healthier communities, delivering exceptional patient care, and ensuring every person has access to quality health care. With its national office in Chicago and a team of approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit Health operates 142 hospitals and more than 700 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2018, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health had combined revenues of $29.2 billion and provided $4.2 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs. Learn more at commonspirit.org.