Baystate Health pushes for more COVID-19 testing kits

Hampden County

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) — Concerns surrounding testing for the coronavirus continues to grow as more cases were confirmed by state health officials on Wednesday.

Baystate Health hopes the federal government will allow hospitals to get their own COVID-19 testing kits. But they can at least now request commercial laboratories to test for the coronavirus.

There are now more than 90 reported coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, only six have been confirmed by the CDC. In order to speed up testing for the virus, the FDA this week approved the two largest laboratory vendors in the country, LabCorp and Quest diagnostics, to test for Covid-19. Baystate said it takes one to three days to get results back.

“Before all the testing had to be done through the DPH, we had to call the the DPH to request testing,” said Dr. Megan Gallagher, infectious disease physician. “Now we can send testing directly to these commercial laboratories.”

Dr. Gallagher told 22News they have to notify the Department of Public Health for test results that come back positive. Patients waiting on test results will either have to stay isolated at home or in a hospital isolation room.

Since the flu and coronavirus symptoms are similar, they test patients for the flu before asking a commercial lab to test for the coronavirus.

Baystate said they could not tell us when they request tests done at the commercial labs, or if they are waiting on any currently.

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