UPHS-Portage in-house COVID-19 testing improves patient care, employee workflows

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HANCOCK, Mich. (WLUC) - UP Health System-Portage is running its own in-house lab testing for COVID-19 cases.

UP Health System-Portage is running its own in-house lab testing for COVID-19 cases. (WLUC Photo)

"To address the testing capacity and provide more timely results for our patients, we now have the ability to analyze test results in our in-house laboratory. The capability greatly increases the scope and speed of the COVID-19 testing available locally," said UPHS-Portage Laboratory Director, Jennifer Heltunen.

The lab is able to return results from the test in around an hour, on average.

"When folks can come in and get tested and get results that quickly it just makes such a difference," said UPHS-Portage Hospitalist, Dr. Timothy LaBonte. "You can leave the hospital knowing whether your positive and you need to appropriately quarantine, or if you're negative and that you don't have to be concerned about spreading the virus to someone."

The quick turnaround in testing has also helped the hospital with efficient patient care.

"That's made a tremendous impact on our workflow upstairs in the hospital," said Dr. LaBonte. "We have a dedicated COVID unit, but with all of the patients coming back negative, we don't have to put them in their own room, we don't have to use negative pressure, and certainly the PPE burn rate has drastically gone down." ????????????

UPHS-Portage would also like to remind its patients that the hospital is safe to visit during this time.

"We don't want you to put off your emergency care, or even preventative care," said Dr. LaBonte. "If you have questions call your doctor's office, but otherwise if you think that you have and emergency we really want you to come in and get checked out."

For more information on the testing at the Hancock hospital, visit https://www.portagehealth.org/.

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