“We are excited to be able to do our part in relieving some of the pressure on the national testing pipeline for COVID-19,” Terese added. “We understood early that providers such as LabCorp would quickly be flooded with specimens and that turnaround times would increase as the days passed. We kept watch on which testing partners would receive Emergency Use Authorization for COVID-19 testing. Abbott Diagnostics was the first identified as a potential for our central laboratory in Hammond, IN and we went live with the platform late on Monday, March 20, 2020. Our great partnerships with our vendors allow us to receive adequate testing kits to ensure that we can keep up with the demand of our systems at this time and help our communities as well.
“Not only are we testing, we have maintained our turnaround time goal of 12- 24 hours,” said Alverno CEO Sam Terese. “To date, we can test all specimens received at our central laboratory and keep pace with demand. At this time, we are receiving adequate supplies of test kits from our testing partner and will be able to maintain our daily testing to about 700 patients.”
Terese noted that collection swabs continue to be in short supply. “There is a national shortage of swabs to collect COVID-19 specimens. Our innovative team is looking at alternative swabs and media to utilize for specimen collection. We are also focusing on how to manage the process from within our systems to have a positive effect on patient care,” Terese said. “Not a small feat when you consider we serve over 35 hospitals thorough Indiana and Illinois, along with parts of Michigan that include some of the hardest hit areas in the U.S. Our teams continue to look ahead and are working on solutions before they are needed.”
Due to limited testing resources, specimens are triaged, in accordance with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
- High acuity patient specimens will be tested in-house at Alverno’s central laboratory.
- Exposed/symptomatic health workers.
- Non-high acuity testing will be performed at Alverno as capacity allows; if capacity is exceeded, these specimens will be sent to LabCorp for testing.
Terese noted that to date Alverno has been able to test all specimens received because our highly dedicated team of laboratory professionals has been testing around the clock 24/7.
“It is unfortunate that this crisis has created a need for innovation,” said Terese. He continued to say that “bringing a test live in a matter of days takes a lot of work. This has been a true team effort and continues to be. We collaborate and communicate during this crisis and are here for each other. We may be often doing it virtually to honor social distancing, but we are a team and I’m proud of each Alverno leader and all of our over 2,000 staff members, many who are on the front line of patient care.” Alverno Laboratories will continue to work tirelessly to bring the tools the laboratories can offer in the battle against this deadly virus.
For more information, visit https://alvernolabs.com/