GGH Lab team works diligently to process COVID-19 test reports

What happens to those COVID-19 swabs? Here at the Hospital they are handled by the Laboratory. These dedicated professionals are helping the wider community combat the virus by getting those much-needed results.

Swabs from in-patients and those coming from the COVID-19 Assessment Centre are processed through our Lab at Guelph General Hospital. Due to limited availability of test kits, swabs from the Assessment Centre are sent to an external lab for testing. Regardless of where they are tested, all of the COVID-19 test reports come back to the GGH Lab where our staff enter the results into the patient’s electronic record which is accessible by the patient’s physician and Wellington-Dufferin-Guelph Public Health.

Analyzing in-patient swabs on-site, in our Lab, helped our Hospitalists and the entire clinical staff tremendously during the pandemic. In many cases, the turnaround time of only a few hours reduced the isolation time for COVID-suspect patients, improved staff and patient safety and helped to preserve PPE. The list of symptoms expanded continuously over the month of April resulting in many in-patients being considered ‘suspect COVID’ until the Lab could complete testing.

Safety for Lab staff is always top of mind. When testing for COVID-19 began, a rigorous standard operating procedure was developed for this team and they all stepped up to ensure that testing could be carried out safely, effectively and efficiently.Within healthcare, it is calculated that lab results are a factor in nearly 70% of all medical decisions. We need the skill and expertise of these healthcare workers to be able to care for our patients. Thank you to everyone in Laboratory Medicine for your ongoing service in response to the new health threat of COVID-19.

This story originated on Guelph General Hospital’s Facebook page on July 9th, 2020 as part of its #behindthemask series to share how the Hospital is working hard to protect patients and visitors from #COVID19.