Butler Health System will be receiving a grant that officials say will dramatically improve their testing capacity.
The grant comes from the county through CARES Act funding and Butler Health System Chief Medical Officer Dr. David Rottinghaus says it will go toward expanding their testing operations.
“Testing is vital to keeping businesses open and understanding the penetration of this disease in our community,” Rottinghaus said. “Testing has been very, very difficult, even since the beginning of this pandemic.”
The funds will go toward the purchase of more rapid antigen tests, which allow for results in about 15 minutes. But, the hospital will also purchase a Cephied machine, which Infectious Disease Director Dr. John Love says will allow the hospital to do the coronavirus PCR tests in-house.
“Right now our turnaround time if you get swabbed and we send the results to Quest, you get your result in three to four days,” Love said. “If we can bring this in-house and do it on the Cephied, we can get the results in about 45 minutes.”
The PCR test was the initial test that has been in place since the early days of the pandemic, and is considered to be more accurate than the rapid antigen tests.
Love said he hopes testing will soon be available to all Butler Health System FastER Care locations, and to primary care physicians in the area.
The grant is for up to $767,000–Rottinghaus said that will help cover the cost of the Cephied machine, which is over $200,000. Other portions of the funding will go to installing better air filtration systems inside the testing locations.
Love said having the Cephied machine can dramatically improve the understanding of the virus in the Butler community.
“This decreases the times to the patients knowing what the answer is,” Love said. “Letting them figure out what kind of precautions they need to take; what they have to tell their employer; what they have to worry about with school. It really facilitates our community having a better grasp on this because [the Cephied] can be run 24 hours a day.”
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