Hospital issues COVID-19 testing guidelines.

March 26, 2020

Hospital issues COVID-19 testing guidelines.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

Editor’s Note: There have been many questions from the community about the local COVID-19 response and testing procedures at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. Many social media comments are speculations or second-hand information, many filled with mis-information. MCP reached out to SHLH, the experts, for the facts of the situation, which can be found in this article. We are thankful to the local health care workers and the difficult challenges they are currently facing. Please stay at home as much as possible and practice social distancing. Also, please keep speculative comments to yourself, people are anxious enough. It’s not always necessary to post all your thoughts on social media.

LUDINGTON — Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital has implemented the following process for local COVID-19 response:

    • Patients with symptoms of COVID-19 should call their physician or access the online chat tool (spectrumhealth.org/covid19) or the Spectrum Health screening hotline (616-391-2380) for an assessment.
    • If directed to the Ludington Hospital ER or if patients arrive at the ER, patients with COVID-19 symptoms will be directed to the triage tent. Spectrum Health has implemented COVID-19 triage screening outside the Emergency Department at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital, as well as several other locations across west Michigan. This effort ensures continued patient access to emergency services while also ensuring the most ill COVID-19 patients are cared for appropriately. Those with mild symptoms — no breathing difficulties and stable vital signs — should stay home and self-quarantine, watch for worsening symptoms. Access the online screening chat tool on Spectrum Health’s website, or call Spectrum Health Now at 616-391-2380.    
    • If warranted based on assessment, state testing guidelines and availability of supplies, patients arriving at the tent will be swabbed and a specimen collected for testing.
    • Specimens are sent via courier to Spectrum Health lab in Grand Rapids. Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital is currently utilizing the State of Michigan’s laboratory, commercial laboratories and Spectrum Health laboratories in Grand Rapids to test for COVID-19. Testing supplies are limited and we are testing in accordance with Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.  
    • Tests results are typically back within 24 hours currently.
    • Patients who require care while results are pending are admitted to a designated isolated inpatient COVID-19 unit.
    • Patients whose symptoms do not meet the criteria to have a specimen collected will be sent home to self-quarantine, with printed directions regarding the length of quarantine, and how to keep family and pets safe.

COVID-19 pandemic information is changing rapidly, and this is the most up-to-date information at this point in time. As supply levels fluctuate and new guidelines are issued from the CDC, this process may change.

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