COVID-19 testing procedures, concerns

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CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — One mother was tested for COVID-19 at an area hospital and says she had a terrible experience. Most of us are being more careful than ever when it comes to watching out for symptoms of coronavirus, but Angelika Hardy has a list of reasons to be cautious.

“I started getting symptoms and feeling a little crummy, and I have heart disease, and I’m, at this point, 25 weeks pregnant,” said Hardy.

Hardy was told it would be a good idea to be tested because of underlying conditions. While waiting on that test to come back, she also took one of her 1-year-old twins to the ER because he was developing a fever. She spent hours waiting to get in, but says her biggest concern was how she and her family were treated because of visitor limitations.

“I felt like a medical record number at that point,” said Hardy. “I know that it’s not the nurse’s fault, and I know that it’s not the doctor’s fault. It’s the whole healthcare system. You need to be empathetic. You have employees that are working beyond their means.”

Hardy did not want to disclose which hospital she went to, but we reached out to both Carle and OSF to see how they’re conducting testing.

“The good news is that we do have a lot of disaster preparedness plans that we could draw from, so this wasn’t that we started completely new. We had a running start,” said Carle’s Chief Operating Officer Matthew Kolb. Carle has the ability to process their own tests to get results within 24 hours.

“We’re able to turn those around much more quickly than relying on an external lab.” said Kolb. However, Carle doesn’t want people with symptoms showing up at the hospital uninvited, looking for a test. People need to be pre-approved online or by talking to a doctor. “We have a hotline, and there will be a clinical team on the other end of the line,” added Kolb.

Carle is also taking special care to protect staff. “Some of the things that we’ve done are providing scrubs to our clinical staff and teams because obviously coming into work and then leaving work, people have concerns about carrying the virus. We’re exploring options to offer our clinical staff housing, so that if they don’t want to return to their families, they have a place that they can stay,” said Kolb.

Kolb also added that Carle can grow, should they have the need to do so. “We have the ability to continue to expand our beds capacity within the hospital, including the ICU’s.”

OSF also has the ability to do testing as well, but they are sending those tests off to outside labs to be processed. However, results should be available within 48 hours.

“We’ve got a lot of tools in our toolbox. We’ve got a deep bench to pull from, so I think that’s reassuring,” said OSF Chief Medical Officer John Kreckman.”What I think is very, very reassuring is that everybody’s doing their part to help. Many people are saying you know, bend the curve, when you see those curves and they’re going straight up… that’s what we gotta do. We gotta bend it down.”

There are eight cases of COVID-19 at Carle right now. OSF is also caring for coronavirus patients, but they would not say how many.

Anyone experiencing symptoms should either call OSF (833-673-5669) or Carle’s (217-902-6100) 24-hour lines OR follow the prompts on either Carle or OSF’s websites to see if their symptoms or situation warrants a test.

Anyone experiencing stress or anxiety can head here.


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