Bowling Green, Ky. (March 10, 2020) – The Medical Center and all its facilities are, and have been, screening and testing for a number of communicable diseases including COVID-19 (Coronavirus). We have had cases that met the definition of a Person Under Investigation, or PUI. To date none have been positive.
To clarify the process for all facilities throughout the United States:
- SCREENING means that questions about exposure and travel are asked, and evidence of infection by fever and laboratory testing is present. Anyone who is “positive” on screening is isolated.
- TESTING is the action of ruling-out many medical illnesses that can present in the same way, including COVID-19 (Coronavirus).
The COVID-19 testing is not licensed for general use, so the only on-site testing available in the United States at this time is at a couple of major universities who do research on viral infections. All other testing is under EUA (Emergency Use Authorization) from the FDA.
The “test” everyone thinks of that has been commonly referred to in the media, is one developed by the CDC. It has been produced and distributed to state health departments. Kentucky has this test at the state health department and performs the test there from patient swabs that are sent to them. No tests are run on site. There is a delay for results, usually two to three days and there are restrictions for who gets tested requiring symptoms and exposure to fit the picture of a Coronavirus infection.
As of March 10, 2020, there are commercial reference laboratories that have begun to offer their version of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) test. Two such laboratories that offer the test include LabCorp and Quest. Solaris in Nicholasville, Kentucky will have this test running later this week.
COVID-19 or Coronavirus has become a world challenge. There are several steps in the process of a patient presentation and actual diagnosis. We hope to lessen its impact and expanded testing is one tool toward that goal. Everyone can play a role in preventing exposure. Social Distancing (avoid crowds and those who are ill, stay home if you are ill) and Social Etiquette (wash hands, wipe common surfaces, cough/sneeze in your sleeve) are important ways we can all help.