UW Health lab ramps up COVID-19 testing

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Madison, Wisc.: Dr. Jeff Pothof, emergency physician and chief quality officer for UW Health, discusses improved capacity for COVID-19 testing at University Hospital's in-house lab. Thanks to hard work and dedication from the talented faculty and staff at the UW Health lab, capacity for in-house COVID-19 testing has increased. Since in-house testing at University Hospital began on March 19, the turnaround time for results has gone from three days to a few hours. Watch the full interview here.

Although UW Health is not able to do widespread testing, it is prioritizing the testing of patients with suspected symptoms and employees who may have had contact with a COVID-19 patient.

Not only does rapid testing allow UW Health to quickly provide answers to patients and staff, it also allows UW Health to conserve Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). Known COVID-19 positive patients require a higher usage of PPE than identified COVID-19 negative patients. Understanding which patients are known to be negative for COVID-19 allows providers to reduce our overall use of PPE.

The staff at the UW Health lab have worked diligently to line up equipment, secure reagents, validate test results and work with vendors and the FDA and CDC to make sure the processes are correct.

Update shared from UW Health news (04/08/2020).