CORONAVIRUS

UnityPoint Health testing all patients admitted to hospitals for coronavirus

Policy implemented last week at Cedar Rapids hospital, others in region

UnityPoint St. Luke's Hospital is seen in Cedar Rapids on Friday, March 27, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)
UnityPoint St. Luke’s Hospital is seen in Cedar Rapids on Friday, March 27, 2020. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

All patients admitted to UnityPoint Health hospitals, including those who are asymptomatic, will be tested for COVID-19.

Health care system officials announced Monday that the new testing policy — which began last week at hospitals in Cedar Rapids, Anamosa, Dubuque and Waterloo — will enable UnityPoint Health “to support public health in identifying positive cases of COVID-19 and carrying out appropriate contact tracing,” according to a news release.

UnityPoint Health is prioritizing testing for all admitted patients due to the higher risk of viral spread for patients undergoing urgent procedures and for patients being discharged, such as those who will be moving into long-term care facilities.

“As our testing capability increases, we also will continue to test more people coming into our hospitals and clinics,” said UnityPoint Health Chief Medical Officer Dave Williams in the release.

“This is important as we begin to resume elective procedures in certain regions within the next few weeks.”

Testing for COVID-19 is done with a nasal swab.

Patients to be tested include all planned admissions, pediatric patients, labor and delivery patients, and patient transfers or those who have not been tested for COVID-19 in the past 48 to 72 hours, depending on the facility.

In addition, patients admitted for emergency surgery and for labor and delivery may see a faster turnaround on test results than the typical 12 to 72 hours. Those patients may see results in approximately four hours if resources are available, according to the release.

Comments: (319) 368-8536; michaela.ramm@thegazette.com

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