Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center is suspending its rapid testing for COVID-19 due to a supply shortage from the test manufacturer. With decreased availability of rapid tests, the hospital is reserving those for critical care patients.
“When we get critical patients in – those we must transfer to another hospital – we must have them tested before they can be transferred to another hospital for critical care. They won’t take them without a result,” said Jennifer Houghton, assistant lab manager for Liberty-Dayton Regional Medical Center.
The rapid test supply shortage is due to manufacturers moving to a four-in-one test that will be used to test for COVID-19, flu strains, strep and RSV (Respiratory Syncytial Virus), according to Dr. Peter Samson, L-DRMC lab manager.
Asymptomatic people who want to be tested for COVID-19 can still do so at the hospital, but they should expect an extended wait time for results.
“For people who are asymptomatic, we are sending their tests to our reference lab but it is taking a while to get those results back. We can still swab to test but there will be a delay of 5-10 days, maybe longer. We will not be able to give people same-day results right now,” Houghton said. “Everyone wants to be tested and we just don’t have the capability to test everyone in the area in-house.”
As the virus appears to spread rapidly and the number of cases is on the rise, it is imperative that people limit their risk by following the CDC’s guidelines of wearing a mask, social distancing of six feet between themselves and others, and washing their hands frequently.
“People will have to start taking care of things. We all get lazy but we are all going to have to get more on top of washing our hands, wearing a mask and keeping our spacing distance,” said Ray Mason, interim CEO of L-DRMC. “Even then, it can sometimes still get to us. We have to be smart. People hear that but they don’t pay attention.”
Houghton believes that the message will go ignored by some people until it hits close to home.
“They will protest and protest until someone they know becomes infected and they have a hard time recovering from it,” Houghton said. “Sadly, that’s when they will finally understand and realize that maybe I should have put that mask on, maybe I should have washed my hands more or maybe I should have stayed away from that big group of people. This virus affects everyone different. You don’t want it to happen to anyone you love.”