COVID-19 tests speeding up, taking 45 minutes instead of days for results

Joplin Area Coronavirus

FILE – In this April 3, 2020, file photo, a scientist presents an antibody test to use with a blood sample for the coronavirus at a laboratory of the Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) at the InfectoGnostics research campus in Jena, Germany. While many laboratories and companies are now offering tests, there are still only two main types available. The nasal swab test tells you if you have an active viral infection right now. A separate blood test tells you if you were previously exposed to the virus and fought off the infection. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer, File)

GREENE COUNTY, Mo. (KOLR) — As we begin to work through the details of what reopening Springfield and Greene Couty could look like, one thing that will surely drive decision making is testing.

Over the past few weeks, we’ve seen a growing number of positive COVID-19 cases across Missouri and testing for the virus isn’t slowing down, in fact, it’s actually speeding up.

People can expect testing to go much faster now, where you’ll only have wait 45 minutes as opposed to days like it’s been before.

Mercy Hospital now has the ability to test its own staff and patients for COVID-19.

The process from start to finish takes only about two hours, with the actual testing only taking 45 minutes.

Though that’s a significant drop in turnaround time, the testing at the hospital is only for inpatients with a high need. Outpatient tests are still being sent to a lab.

Mercy Hospital Chief Quality Officer Vicki Good says the quicker turnaround time will help determine more quickly how to care for a patient.

“If we can give a definitive answer quicker that’s going to help on several different fronts, emotionally, physically and everything else,” Good said, “it’ll be a large impact in that we can better manage our patients, manage them more quickly as well as get treatments to them faster. Additionally, if I know a patient doesn’t have COVID-19 then I don’t have to use the highest level of personal protective equipment that I would normally have to, so again it helps us then to conserve on PPE.”

The Springfield-Greene County Health Department also has received a quick test machine that will be online soon and it will be able to get test results back in 15 minutes.

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