Spectrum Health limiting COVID-19 testing to symptomatic patients

Nov 13, 2020

Spectrum Health
Credit Spectrum Health

Spectrum Health says it will only test for COVID-19 in patients showing symptoms.

Spectrum Health conducts roughly 4,000 COVID-19 tests daily. But with increasing demand as the virus spreads exponentially, the hospital is prioritizing symptomatic patients and not people who’ve been exposed to it.

“The rationale for this is, number one, we want to make sure those symptomatic patients get tested. And number two, we want to make sure that our testing turnaround times remain short so those tests are actually actionable.”

Dr. Darryl Elmouchi is President of Spectrum Health West. “With that said, we’ve been providing a very large number of tests, and again, we’re not trying to specifically exclude anyone it’s just that the number of people with symptoms for COVID-19 is so high right now we want to make sure that we prioritize those. If that number starts coming down and we’re able to expand again to asymptomatic testing, we absolutely will. We’re just not able to do that now.”

It comes down to the availability of testing supplies. While the global and national supply chain is limited, Dr. Elmouchi says Spectrum has done well acquiring tests delivered through multiple platforms.

“And we do not believe we’ll hit capacity. We think we’ll have enough supplies for the coming weeks, for sure, but we’re very mindful of it.” Elmouchi says he’s hopeful, at some point, the hospital can expand beyond the 4,000 tests per day.

I’m Patrick Center