Well-Being Prevention & Cures

UC health systems launching in-house coronavirus testing

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Story at a glance

  • The medical centers of the University of California (UC) school system are working on developing their own in-house coronavirus testing centers.
  • After UC Davis successfully treated infected patients, the school system wants to alleviate pressure from other labs and health care facilities.

In a response to the large caseload of coronavirus patients confirmed and emerging on the U.S. West Coast, five University of California medical centers are in the process of launching in-house testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

Chronicled in the Sacramento Bee, university medical centers like the University of California, Davis hospital are preparing to support an influx of patients who may have the coronavirus. As stated in a press release issued March 11, the UC Davis Health Center providers have “successfully” treated patients, including the first U.S. individual infected with COVID-19 through community spread. 

Per the hospital news, all three of the patients have “improved quickly, and returned to their homes, in quarantine, to continue to recuperate. They are continuing to do well.”

Officials at the hospital stated that they have learned a lot about the disease, corroborating U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hypotheses that COVID-19 is largely spread through airborne droplets.

As a solution to the scarcity of functional test kits across health care facilities in the country, which has slowed diagnostics, the UC system is looking to replicate its recent successes with treating coronavirus patients. 

“Our hospital is taking steps to greatly expand its testing capabilities on-site, with the goal of running tests inside our hospital within the next few weeks,” UC Davis Health officials stated in the press release. “We are doing this in full collaboration with Sacramento County Public Health and other public health agencies, in order to take pressure off other testing labs.”

Reports say that laboratories UC San Francisco, UCLA and UC San Diego are currently offering in-house COVID-19 testing and screenings with a turnaround time of about 24 hours. 

Dr. Carrie Byington, UC Health Executive Vice President, said that all five of the UC medical centers are in the process of obtaining approval to administer the tests. UC Davis and Irvine are next. 

“We are hoping this will aid the state in getting more people tested,” Byington commented. “Whether it’s in our hospitals, laboratories, or classrooms, UC’s scientists and faculty are rising to the challenge of protecting communities across California and the nation during this difficult time,” she further stated in a separate press release

The World Health Organization (WHO) just labeled the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic as the total number of global cases increased to 127,863. 

In the U.S., there are currently 1,323 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and four of those cases have died while in California. Within the UC system, 79 individuals have been evaluated for possible infections, with two confirmed cases as UC Davis and three at UCSF, per the University of California’s statement