UP Health System - Portage Announces In-House COVID-19 Testing For Patients

April 27, 2020

UP Health System - Portage announced today that it has received testing supplies to perform an in-house molecular test to help diagnose patients with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). In an effort to help address limited COVID-19 testing capacity and provide more timely results for patients, UPHS - Portage has started analyzing test results in its in-house laboratory.

This capability greatly increases the scope and speed of COVID-19 testing available locally as compared with other commercial laboratories in the region. Access to faster, more efficient test results translates to better care for patients and enhanced safety for healthcare workers on the front lines. It also enables providers to make more informed decisions on how to treat patients and helps optimize the hospital's supply of personal protective equipment.

“As we continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of diagnostic testing is critical in helping to identify and control the spread of this illness,” said Ed Freysinger, Chief Executive Officer of UPHS - Portage. “Our in-house testing capabilities provide a one-hour turnaround for results, compared to the average 3-5 days for other external labs. This expedited process puts us ahead of the curve and helps ensure we can better serve our patients and support our staff.”

Due to state testing priority guidelines, in-house COVID-19 testing and analysis is limited to individuals who meet certain criteria determined by UPHS - Portage

“Our laboratory was able to bring testing for COVID-19 in-house because we have highly qualified staff members who are appropriately able to utilize equipment protocols and innovative technology to help meet this important need,” said Jen Heltunen, UPHS - Portage Laboratory Director. “We are pleased to be able to effectively leverage the advanced capabilities of our lab, especially during this public health emergency."

Scientists across the world are intimately involved with COVID-19 testing and UP Health System - Portage is proud of the work that our healthcare heroes are conducting in our community.

General COVID-19 Testing FAQs:

I'm experiencing mild symptoms right now, but I'm worried.
If you are experiencing fever and/or mild symptoms of respiratory illness, you can and should isolate at home during illness. For details about how to correctly perform home isolation, tips for managing your illness at home with family members, and guidance on when you can discontinue home isolation, please visit the CDC's website at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Should I get tested? Isolating yourself at home and self-monitoring mild symptoms is the best course of action unless you feel you need medical care. 

Worsening symptoms - I need to see my provider. 
Be alert to any changing symptoms and seek prompt medical attention if your symptoms are getting worse. If you feel you need to visit your healthcare provider, call ahead before you arrive to tell them you're experiencing symptoms that may be related to COVID-19. This will allow your provider's office staff to properly prepare for your visit and take the necessary precautions to keep others from being infected or exposed. 

Will I be tested? Your provider will make this determination. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and Western Upper Peninsula Health Department guidelines. 

Emergent symptoms - I am having difficulty breathing. 
If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 9-1-1 and notify the dispatch agent that your emergency is related to possible COVID-19 symptoms. 

Will I be tested? Your emergency medicine provider will make this determination. You may or may not be tested, but your provider will follow all appropriate CDC and Western Upper Peninsula Health Department guidelines.