Coronavirus testing expands a bit at LA County hospitals


At Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood, medical workers, donning masks and gloves, attended to a stream of patients outside the emergency room, an increasingly familiar scene as coronavirus testing grew a bit wider on Wednesday at Los Angeles County hospitals.

Inside, patients who met the COVID-19 screening criteria, and were referred from a primary care physician, were checking in to the tent for further evaluation and testing. One masked staffer said it had gradually gotten busier through the morning. The tests are not for everyone; you must be screened and referred by a physician.

A security guard stands by a tent UCLA Medical Center Emergency department set up to test patients for coronavirus at the Westwood hospital on Wednesday, March 18, 2020. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

The scene was similar at some medical facilities throughout the region on a day when when the nation’s ability to test for the virus was expanding, but could still only go so far.

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Kaiser-Permanente, with 15 hospitals in Southern California, for instance, continued its pilot testing of a drive-thru/”Drive-up” testing option at several of its Southern California sites. But it was available only to patients with a Kaiser physician’s order, said Kaiser-Permanente spokesman Terry Kanakri.

Kaiser’s physicians were accessing lab tests for COVID-19 through clinical laboratories authorized by the FDA. Those tests return results within three to five days, similar to CDC and other public health departments. Kaiser Permanente was also pursuing testing through our own clinical laboratories further augmenting testing capacity, Kanakri said.

UCLA, though, wasn’t waiting a week. They’ve developed their own test, which spits back results within two to three hours, said spokeswoman Jane Murcia.

“We’ve been doing testing, about 40 tests a day and we’re hoping to ramp up next month,” she said.

The testing is vital to ultimately containing the virus, officials said.

LA County health officials confirmed 46 new cases of the novel coronavirus on Wednesday, bringing the county’s total to 190 confirmed cases so far. That’s 96 cases over the past 48 hours. There’s been 1 confirmed death.

Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said that for every confirmed cases …read more

Source:: Dailynews – News


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