PDH tested around 25 percent of the local population in 10 days
Editor’s note: Due to the increase in Covid cases reported last week (particularly in Quincy) and some of the challenges encountered during testing, Plumas News has contacted the school district, public health and the Plumas District Hospital for more information. The Hospital District responded with this important information and we are sharing it with our readers.
Comparing the overall access to COVID testing to local and regional facilities, we found that most places take days, and usually up to a week, to get an appointment and extra days to get your result. This turns out to be true in Reno, Sacramento, and other places in the northern part of California. Our organization strives to achieve a goal of less than 24 hours to secure an appointment.
Regarding the operation of our COVID testing clinic on weekends, unfortunately we are unable to accommodate it at this time. We have lost 4 nurses in clinics and are struggling to maintain our 2,300 office visits per month, in addition to COVID-19 testing. From a laboratory perspective, we are currently operating at full capacity. Our lab performed large batches of COVID tests 6 days a week during most of the pandemic. From Monday to Friday we run two high volume lots and one on Saturday. This week we frequently processed three large batches of specimens totaling up to 175 specimens per day. The staff needed to support this effort work from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. and, due to the complex nature of the test, very few are qualified to perform it. PDH offers 24/7 COVID testing in small volumes through our emergencies for symptomatic patients on another PCR platform and we have processes in place with public health to refer symptomatic or high identified contacts. risk.
During a pandemic, there is a triage process that we should use to prioritize care, testing, access, etc. according to needs and not the same model as our normal activity. We have strived to support the community as a whole and, working with schools, have assessed test score capacity on a daily basis against our staff and testing capacity, while placing the needs of the community at the top. above those of the surveillance tests for schools. School testing does not affect our outpatient swab schedule, these are all appointments for community testing. Since September 27, we have performed 1058 tests, or nearly 25 of the population of Quincy / East Quincy, in just 10 days.
In a discussion with PUSD this week, we requested that a process be put in place to notify us of contacts referred due to exposure, as these would be given priority over general community swabs. We recommended that they discuss this with the health service to determine who this notification would come from (PUSD or PCPH) and this would help with planning. We are still waiting for the last word in their discussions.
I know the PUSD has been working really hard to put all of this in place and get their Binax, point-of-care testing, up and running and we did training this week for additional district nurses to learn how to dab. Editor’s note: These tests begin this week.
Regarding our current outbreak, we have contacted public health to address concerns about supporting community needs. In my discussions with Dr. Satterfield over the past week, I did not receive any concerns about our processes or the lack of support for community testing.
PDH will continue to support the county, schools, adjacent hospitals and the community to the best of our ability to fight COVID-19.