UPDATE: Sparrow Health System now providing inpatient coronavirus testing

Published: Mar. 20, 2020 at 9:56 AM EDT
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Sparrow Health System in downtown Lansing is offering inpatient coronavirus testing is now available at its Center for Laboratory Medicine.

The health system has been delivering a laboratory-confirmed coronavirus diagnosis to inpatients who have been admitted to the hospital with suspected COVID-19 symptoms or distress, according to a news release Friday.

It now reports it can process up to 60 COVID-19 specimens with same-day results. Coronavirus is a novel coronavirus respiratory illness that causes COVID-19, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Currently, a state laboratory test takes anywhere from 48 to 72 hours to show results.

James Richard, director of Sparrow Laboratories said they've received thousands of tests. As of right now, he said they have a very limited capacity so they're not able to run the tests as quickly as they want but they're working on ramping that up.

Richard said it's all part of the process of making more tests available to Mid-Michigan patients.

"The plan moving forward is to increase our ability and capacity so we can do more tests locally and continue to provide this community with the best opportunity to gain the knowledge of presence or absence of COVID-19 in this community," Richard said.

Patients already hospitalized for coronavirus symptoms won't have to wait more than a day after being tested.

The service is not currently available to non-hospitalized patients, its providers are collecting coronavirus specimens for confirmation at its outpatient laboratory sites, including at a drive-through collection site at its Sparrow Hospital St. Lawrence campus. These tests require confirmation by the state lab.

Sparrow continues to conduct daily screening for coronavirus symptoms on all caregivers, patients and visitors.

“Patients and their families also deserve to know what they are facing so they can make important decisions," said Dr. James E. Richard, DO, director of Sparrow Laboratories, in the release.

On-site testing by hospitals was made possible after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration implemented emergency authorization to develop testing, according to the release.

Once the standards were released to allow on-site testing, Walid Khalife, Ph.D., director of scientific affairs, and the Sparrow Lab staff immediately applied for status and began implementing the steps needed to bring this service to Mid-Michigan.

Copyright 2020 WILX. All rights reserved.

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