Ballad Health announces new rapid testing devices, recovery team and emergency room visit percentage

Published 5:56 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Rapid testing devices, a recovery team for elective surgeries and a decline in emergency room visits were announced during a media briefing from Ballad Health on Tuesday.
Ballad has received four new Cepheid rapid testing devices that will be placed across the region. This new development means they are now able to do 400 COVID-19 tests a day in house. This is set to begin Wednesday, April 22.
Levine says results from these tests will take a few hours as opposed to a few days.
“The results of rapid tests process within the hour,” he said. “What we’re doing is, we’re vouching them, so that it is usually within five or six hours that we get the result. As we perfect the process, it could get even faster.”
This new development in testing technology comes after Ballad announced rapid testing, which also gave results within a few hours, a couple of weeks ago when about 50 tests per day could be done.
Levine said this rapid testing will be beneficial in offering elective procedures again. These elective surgeries are now under a recovery group. This recovery group is being tasked by Dr. Beth Jackson and Rebecca Beck, who are gathering input for medical personnel and region leaders on how to resume the procedures.
“This is a critical step toward reopening our elective surgery procedures,” said Levine. “One of the things that is critical for us is that we have the capacity to test patients who are potentially infected before we could possibly expose our teams. So having this expanded testing capacity is a very necessary first step.”
While more information regarding the recovery team is to be announced, it was reported that emergency room visits are also down by 51 percent due to social distancing. It was warned that some of these decreases could be due to the public fearing contraction of the virus in hospitals. It is urged that those who are facing emergencies should still go to the hospital for medical care to prevent complications. According to Levine, a benefit of the virtual urgent cares now being offered is that patients can seek help and a physician can urge them to go to the ER if it is necessary.
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