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Coronavirus Update and Health System Preparations - 3/18

Coronavirus Update and Health System Preparations - 3/18
Testing Method at Remote Screening

The nation has a shortage of the viral transport media required to use nasal swabs, there isn’t nearly enough to meet the needs of our community. The Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) specifies an alternative method of testing using sputum. Sputum requires a specialized lab and a good sputum sample, but it is an extremely good test.

However, if you can’t get enough sputum up, they can’t test. Please understand that the state lab cannot process inadequate samples. We appreciate our partners at the ADPH lab; they are an extremely sophisticated and competent team. They are working hard to test every sample they can, but please be understanding if your test results are inconclusive.

The good news is that we have obtained hundreds of usable samples. In order to meet the needs of our community, we are using all resources available to fight this disease. This method of collection, mixed with a judicious use of the nasal swabs we have available, has allowed us to keep collecting specimens for testing when others have had to stop due to a lack of supplies. In the first two days alone we were able to screen nearly 800 people and send off over 500 specimens for testing.

We appreciate you getting tested. We are learning about the disease prevalence in our community through this initiative.

Unfortunately, a negative result by any testing mechanism does not rule out the disease. If you are having symptoms, please avoid contact with others for 14 days regardless of your test result or test method.

We have to work together as a community to keep this disease from spreading. Let’s protect each other!