UPMC officials announced Saturday morning that they have successfully developed a test for the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 - the virus that causes COVID-19.
Starting March 17th, UPMC will direct patients with symptoms to a specimen collection site in Pittsburgh's South Side. The site will not be open to the general public for testing. All patients to be tested must have a physician's referral approved by UPMC's infection prevention team AND an appointment.
UPMC says that a patient should have a diagnosis within 24 hours, instead of the days or weeks it is currently taking with outside labs. Initial capacity will be around 20 patients a day and should ramp up to over 100 by the end of the week. They'll continue to increase that capacity as other tests come online.
“Testing capabilities for COVID-19 in the U.S. have been delayed and limited, creating anxiety for the people we serve and impairing our ability to optimally guide the public health response,” said Donald Yealy, M.D., chair of emergency medicine for UPMC and Pitt. “By creating our own test and collection centers, we can both help our patients and the overall community. We seek getting a diagnosis in hours, not days.”
Click HERE for the full press release.
Click HERE to watch the full press conference.
Thumbnail courtesy of Getty Images.