Henry Mayo official discusses testing process for coronavirus

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital.
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A Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital official explained how the process for COVID-19 testing is done and how long it would take for test results to come back.

In a phone interview Friday, Larry Kidd, Henry Mayo’s senior vice president and chief clinical officer, said the hospital has the testing collection materials for at least a few weeks.

“We have an adequate supply for the average use per day for weeks,” said Kidd. “Of course, it depends on the number of patients presented that require the test.”

Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital officials declined to comment on how many tests they have ordered.

Kidd said Thursday that the test works as follows: Once a person has qualified for a test in terms of both the Centers for Disease Control guidelines and their general history, they will then be isolated. Trained staff will then take a nasal swab to collect the testing specimen.

“There’s a procedure for how the material is packaged and labeled according to the laboratory requirements,” said Kidd. “And then that is sent off to be tested.”

Based on how the patient presented, that will determine whether they are either sent home to be quarantined or if they are hospitalized, Kidd said.

“Not every patient that presents is COVID-19 positive, so they might have underlying conditions that need to be treated,” said Kidd. “So depending on how we would normally evaluate a patient as to whether or not they need to be hospitalized, that would determine whether or not they are admitted to the hospital.”

Kidd said the average time it takes for the test results to return from either the public or private labs is three to four days.

“But as more laboratories come up to speed and start doing the test, we expect to get a faster turnaround,” said Kidd. “However, again, it depends on the number of tests that the lab is processing … but there are more labs that are being activated to be able to run these tests.”

And while some hospitals around the country may be experiencing an influx that tests the number of beds and supplies available to them in the wake of this pandemic, Kidd said the hospital is not at capacity.

“We actually have adequate beds to take care of the number of patients presenting,” said Kidd. “We have the capacity to take on a number of patients, if that is required.”

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