10 Negative COVID Tests at Passavant, Hospital Needing Reagent to Execute Test Locally

By Benjamin Cox on March 24, 2020 at 9:04am

Passavant CEO Dr. Scott Boston says that everyone at the hospital is doing well during the COVID-19 crisis that’s encircled the world. He says that employees have gotten into some new routines to keep themselves and everyone around them safe. He said hospital staff are routinely taking their temperature to ensure they don’t have a fever when they enter the hospital and are also taking their temperature at work every two hours.

Boston says the early onset of the virus presents like the common cold, but he says the fever that accompanies coronavirus is what makes specific cases concerning. He says a fever is usually indicative that something more is going on.

Boston said that so far the tests for COVID-19 at Passavant have all been negative. “We have had 10 negative tests so far. We currently still have 2 results that are out pending.”

Boston said that despite the negative tests, Passavant has taken extra precautions to ensure they are not overrun by the virus should an outbreak occur. He said the first action was to postpone all elective surgeries at the hospital. He said that by not doing the surgeries now, it will free up personal protective equipment for healthcare workers should a surge take place. They have also begun converting some rooms on the hospital campus to negative air flow rooms. He said the rooms do not allow air to escape back into the airflow of the hospital to allow for any patient that needs to be quarantined or placed into containment. “We currently have 5 of those rooms in place in the hospital. We are getting a process in place to convert about 16 of our rooms to that so it’ll give us much more capacity to take care of patients who need to be placed in a negative airflow room.”

Boston says he’s also created a redeployment pool to sweep clinicians from one department into other parts of the hospital that are busier. He said that because many of the staff at Passavant are good at personal care or are cross-trained, they are able to redirect people to areas of the hospital as needed.

Boston said that the hospital currently has enough swabs on hand to test for the virus but are missing the reagent on-site to actually conduct the test. “Right now, all of our swabs go to the Illinois Department of Public Health. They are our reference lab for performing these tests. They have very stringent indicators for being allowed to run the test. We have to answer a series of symptom questions, exposure questions, and you have to be admitted and be ill in the hospital before IDPH will grant the permission to do the test. We are hoping maybe in the next couple of weeks, we may have the potential to do the test here in our hospital. It will be dependent on how one of our contracts work with one of our reference labs to provide us that reagent.”

Boston said that in spite of the virus, the hospital is also still seeing a large number of cases of influenza. He says that the symptoms of COVID-19 and influenza are very similar, leading to some difficulty in diagnosis. He hopes that with the testing in house as well as the mobilization of the hospital, they will continue to help the citizens on the front lines of the pandemic.