Vidant Health increases COVID-19 rapid testing capability to about 1,000 a week

Published: Apr. 14, 2020 at 1:32 PM EDT
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Vidant Health says it has greatly increased its COVID-19 testing capability.

Brian Floyd, Vidant Health President, said during today's Pitt County COVID-19 press conference that the system has the ability to test about 1,000 rapid tests per week now.

"We are using them for safety, for effective diagnostic tools, and then to help limit the spread in high risk environments which is part of the whole plan of lessening the curve and keeping it within the control limits of the health system itself," Floyd

When the fight against COVID-19 was just ramping up at Vidant, Floyd says that the system was relegated to sometimes days of waiting to determine if a patient had COVID-19.

Because of that presumption that someone could be infected, health care workers would have to increase their use of PPE, or personal protective equipment. The increase in testing would help alleviate that usage of gear.

The increased number of tests also allow the hospital system to respond to nursing homes that test positive for COVID-19.

"Once we know that we need to know the extent of spread within that nursing home environment," Floyd said.

Floyd says that in the next couple of weeks the system could even be as far as having 1,000 tests available a day.

The increased testing is also opening up discussions to help resume elective procedures like surgery.

"We are now working with local physicians to determine how will we best use the testing capability that we have to determine if its safe to proceed with some of the procedures that people have needed up to this point," Floyd said, "We don't have those answers today but we're now in a place where that is now a body of work that we're working with physicians to determine."

Vidant Health says it is currently treating 38 patients in its hospitals.

"The strategy that we have talked about, the social distancing and all is working, in that while we still see an increase in cases we can see that the social distancing is having a positive impact on our ability to battle COVID-19," Floyd said.

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