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March 25, 2020

UVA Health Offering COVID-19 Testing to Virginia Hospitals

Dawn Dirks works in a lab at UVA.

UVA Health is now offering its newly developed COVID-19 testing to hospitals across Virginia.   

UVA’s current testing platform enables more than 100 tests per day, and the health system has offered to perform up to 50 tests per day for hospitals across Virginia on behalf of inpatients that meet clinical guidelines for testing. As of Tuesday evening, UVA had provided multiple tests for five additional hospitals in Virginia and one in North Carolina.

Virginia hospitals received additional information Monday through a Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association memo on how to request testing for their inpatients. UVA was the first in Virginia to develop an in-house test. With the support of a philanthropic gift, UVA is working to scale up the numbers of tests and expects over the next two weeks to perform more than 500 tests per day. Limited testing availability has affected the ability of care providers to accurately diagnosis patients and isolate those with the disease. The result has been additional use of valuable personal protective equipment by health providers and increased potential for transmission of COVID-19 while waiting for delayed testing results.  

“Our hope is that providing these tests will assist hospitals across the Commonwealth in caring for their patients and responding to this pandemic,” said K. Craig Kent, MD, UVA’s executive vice president for health affairs. “We also hope this will help to save protective personal equipment and other critical resources for Virginia’s public health needs.”

A laboratory team led by Mendy Poulter, PhD, and Amy Mathers, MD – supported by contributions of supplies and equipment from team members across UVA Health and the UVA community – enabled UVA to begin local testing last week. Prior to the development of this in-house test, results would take 5-9 days to return and testing was limited for most hospitals to only a few patients.   With the new in-house test, the turnaround time is less than 24 hours, with the goal over the next two weeks that the turnaround time will diminish to 2 hours for UVA inpatients and 12 hours for outside hospitals.  

As UVA Health expands its testing capacity they will make tests available for inpatients at Virginia hospitals, hospitals in nearby states as well as clinical providers and first responders who have symptoms. 

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