QHC COVID Update: Expanding capabilities at labs and testing centres

Aug 25, 2020
Belleville, ON, Canada / Quinte News

BGH lab expands COVID-19 testing capabilities

Quinte Health Care is expanding its lab testing capabilities at Belleville General Hospital, to test for COVID-19 in-house, instead of sending swabs elsewhere.

The BGH Microbiology Department is now able to test up to 400 COVID-19 swabs a day, with the focus currently on testing within the four hospitals and their emergency and in-patient units, but a plan is in place to expand testing volumes if the demand increases significantly.

CEO Mary Clare Egberts added that with flu season and a potential second wave coming, it’s important to be able to get tests done quickly, so doctors can determine if a patient has COVID-19 or another illness.

With current demand, the turnaround time for a COVID-19 test at BGH is about four hours.

More diagnosis and pre-treatment options coming to COVID-19 testing centres

Quinte Health Care is planning a shift in what services are offered at some local COVID-19 testing centres, with a potential second wave and flu season approaching.
Chief of Staff Dr. Colin MacPherson told the QHC Board of Directors Tuesday that the testing centres in Belleville and Quinte West should be able to offer more diagnosis and treatment options, come the fall.
“Patients would now be able to come to the centre, some of them would simply need a test, but others may need more of an assessment of their symptoms or diagnosis. Do they have COVID, or is this an exacerbation of some other upper respiratory tract infection? We want to move that out of the primary care offices and into more of a centralized location.”
He says further details will depend on how many family doctors sign up to help out at the centre and that the centres in Picton and North Hastings won’t see any change, as they are already able to provide those assessments.
As far as testing in schools goes, QHC is still working out a strategy with HPE Public Health and expects to finalize those details in the coming weeks.

Flu shot encouraged with second wave potentially coming

The CEO of Quinte Health Care is urging everyone to get their flu shot this year, in an attempt to help in the fight against a second wave of COVID-19.

Mary Clare Egberts made the comments during a meeting of the QHC Board of Directors on Tuesday and says it’s crucial to get your flu shot, especially with kids going back to school and more people heading indoors as the weather cools.

“If ever there was a year to get the shot to protect yourself and your loved ones it is in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. We’ve seen other countries have lower instances of dealing with the flu because there’s been a larger uptick on the flu shot.”

She added that the combination of COVID-19 and the flu is what could overwhelm the system, though Chief of Staff Dr. Colin MacPherson did say he believes they will be ready for a second wave if and when it comes.

Source: https://www.quintenews.com/2020/08/25/qhc-covid-update-lab-capabilities-expanded-changes-at-testing-centres-and-more/