Newport Hospital has acquired new laboratory equipment that will enhance patient care within the hospital by increasing its capacity to perform on-site rapid tests for a wide variety of pathogens, including the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The purchase of the GenMark ePlex testing system expands Newport Hospital’s ability to quickly obtain results -- in just a matter of hours -- for patients presenting with flu-like systems. This enables hospital staff to more quickly develop a plan of care for ill patients, including determining the best course of treatment and the need for isolating contagious patients. It is not a testing service open to the public.
The acquisition was made possible by a new Newport Hospital Emergency Preparedness Fund dedicated to the hospital’s ability to respond to crises. Many community members had expressed interest in making donations to support the hospital’s challenging and costly response to the pandemic, which led to the creation of the fund.
“Newport Hospital has been overwhelmed by how the community, in both small and substantial ways, has shown its deep appreciation for how this institution and our staff have responded to COVID-19. The amazing generosity of donors, who saw this pandemic as a call to action and who stepped up in our time of need, has now allowed us to further improve how we deliver care to our community,” said Crista F. Durand, president of Newport Hospital. “We are so grateful for the continuing support of the Newport Hospital Emergency Preparedness Fund, which has already proven immensely valuable and useful.”
The hospital previously tapped the new fund to purchase two Clorox electrostatic sprayers to more effectively and widely disinfect surfaces in patient rooms and public spaces during the pandemic.
Newport Hospital, as part of the Lifespan system, already benefited from supplies of another rapid test from manufacturer Cepheid. But due to the demands of COVID-19 on medical supplies, its availability can be limited. The newly acquired GenMark ePlex system adds an additional layer of rapid testing capability to the hospital’s laboratory services. Another option readily available to Newport Hospital is the ability to transfer specimens to a central Lifespan laboratory in Providence.
The new ePlex system Newport Hospital just purchased and put into service is capable of providing rapid results on GenMark’s newest respiratory pathogen panel (RP2), which in addition to being able to test for an array of common pathogens, including influenza, also detects SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. The test is only for patients that meet certain criteria, including admitted patients and certain patients presenting to the Emergency Department with illness.
“As we enter the flu season, it’s very helpful to distinguish whether a patient presenting to the hospital with common symptoms has influenza or COVID-19, and being able to do so rapidly can enhance the quality of care we provide and the maximize the hospital’s efficiency,” said Jeffrey Gaines, MD, vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer for Newport Hospital.
Donations to the Emergency Preparedness Fund can be made by visiting www.newporthospital.org/Giving-to-Newport-Hospital.