UPMC opens COVID-19 specimen collection site

JAMESTOWN — Beginning today, UPMC Chautauqua will begin directing patients who receive physician consultation and referral for symptoms consistent with COVID-19 to an outpatient specimen collection site at Jones Health, 51 Glasgow Ave, Bldg. E. The hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The site is not open to the public, and walk-ins will not be tested. Providers will refer patients to the local UPMC infection prevention team and, if the patient meets screening criteria, an appointment will be scheduled to have their specimen collected for testing. Patients will receive a call with their scheduled appointment information and should self-isolate until that appointment.

“An important part of testing patients for coronavirus is collecting the specimen samples,” said Aimee Hagerty, chief nursing officer and vice president, administrative services, UPMC Chautauqua. “During the collection, there is the risk of exposure. That is why we’ve created a separate, centralized collection site that ensures the safety of patients, the public and our staff.”

Trained UPMC staff will collect specimens, doing so safely while wearing personal protective equipment, including gowns, gloves and N95 masks or respirators. Collection will occur in negative pressure rooms, which assure that air does not leave the room until it flows through a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter that removes pathogens. The process involves a “nasopharyngeal” swab, a thin device inserted through a patient’s nose into the nasal cavity.

The specimens will be safely transported to a commercial laboratory in the region, the UPMC Clinical Laboratory in Pittsburgh or the appropriate health department for testing. Depending on the laboratory conducting the test, results could be returned in less than 24 hours or within one week.

Anyone whose sample is taken should self-isolate until results come back. If it is positive, UPMC will refer the patient to public health authorities and ensure ongoing care.

People who suspect they have COVID-19 but do not have a high fever or breathing problems should call their primary care physician or use their provider’s virtual visit options to get advice. Anyone with a high fever or breathing trouble should go to their local emergency department for evaluation and care.


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