MOUNT GILEAD — Morrow County Hospital has recently added new technology to its laboratory department to aid in the fight against COVID-19. The new technology, called Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), is a testing technique used to detect SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19 virus), as well as two types of influenza (A and B) at the same time.
“The PCR test is a much more accurate and quicker test for identifying influenza and COVID-19 at the same time,” said Douglas Nichols, Morrow County Hospital Laboratory manager. “Results for COVID-19 and the flu can be in our hands within 35 minutes of processing a sample, as opposed to two to four days for the standard COVID-19 test process.”
Currently, patients requiring a COVID-19 test prior to hospital procedures or surgeries, or coming through the Emergency Department/Urgent Care for admittance into the hospital must be tested for COVID-19 ahead of time. “Patients are swabbed the same way, regardless of how we process the results, but for patients waiting for a crucial in-patient procedure, sample results can come back quicker, which expedites the overall care for our patients,” Nichols said.
“The new test technology will only be available to patients who are being admitted into the hospital or who need a hospital procedure, for the time being,” he added.
The hospital will benefit from the new PCR technology further down the road and when COVID-19 is not front and center. The technology will allow the hospital laboratory to test for other viruses.
“The investment for the PCR technology is an economical investment for Morrow County Hospital,” said hospital president & CEO Chad Miller.
Many times, test samples have to be shipped out to other partnering labs for quicker processing and results, which is a cost to the hospital.
“Being able to quickly process COVID-19 (and other viruses) results internally provides a cost savings to the hospital and, in turn, the technology is projected to pay for itself in two years,” Miller said.
Information supplied by OhioHealth and Morrow County Hospital.