St. Luke’s begins testing all admitted patients for COVID-19

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Beginning Thursday, all patients being admitted to Saint Luke’s Health System are being tested for COVID-19.

Many view this is as important to restore public trust in seeking health care.

Universal testing provides some peace of mind for patients reluctant to seek treatment for mild cardiac or stroke symptoms.

And health care workers don’t have to question whether they need to be wearing N95 masks and other personal protective equipment to care for people.

If a patient does not test positive for COVID-19, the hospital doesn’t want to squander hard-to-find PPE, if it’s not needed.

“We are testing patients who are getting admitted and are going to need to be within our facility and maybe needing other procedures or testing for surgeries done,” said Dr. Sarah Boyd, an infectious disease physician at St. Luke’s. “At this point I do think testing across the city has become more available than it was at the beginning of all of this, a couple of months ago. We are still testing symptomatic patients, patients that have a physician order for testing. And then those coming into the hospital.”

Testing all patients coming into the hospital will be a fact of life for the foreseeable future.
Processing the tests is done in-house at Saint Luke’s own lab, and can provide results within a few hours.

Saint Luke’s currently is treating 17 patients for COVID-19 and identifying asymptomatic patients also provides an extra level of safety.

Doctors, nurses and other workers also have more confidence when they know everyone coming into the hospital is being tested and they quickly learn what the results are.

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