In an announcement today by CHRISTUS Health there will be an Antibodies Test available to be used as a screening tool to some patients, doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers on the frontlines to find out if they have been infected with COVID-19 and most importantly find out if they carry protective antibodies against the deadly virus.

In a press release Dr. Sam Bagchi, who is CHRISTUS Health’s EVP and Chief Clinical Officer stated that “Beginning today, we are adding the unprecedented additional layer of antibody screening to help survey for asymptomatic COVID-19 infections among patients and caregivers.”

For the last several weeks, the has been testing the reliability of the test and now has sent kits out to CHRISTUS hospitals in the U.S. and Latin America. The test produces results in approximately 10 minutes.

 

“This would be a game-changer in restarting parts of the economy more quickly and safely,” Dr. Harvey Fineberg, a professor in the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, wrote in an April 1 editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine.

CHRISTUS will first begin using the test on Associates and caregivers on the frontlines. The rapid screening tool will also be used on hospitalized patients that the clinical team believes may have been infected with COVID-19 as well as patients who are scheduled for an urgent surgery.

“People should not put off urgent and emergent procedures, and should continue to seek the care they need. We know that, regardless of COVID-19, heart attacks and strokes have not stopped. We need to be able to treat people who urgently need to be in an operating room,” said Dr. Bagchi. “With the availability of an antibody test, we can test anyone who comes in for an urgent surgery. This will allow us to reliably know if a patient has COVID-19 before they start having symptoms or might normally be tested.”

CHRISTUS St. Michael as all CHRISTUS hospitals continue to practice these safety measures including:

· Limiting visitors;

· Screening everyone who comes through our doors;

· Isolating COVID-19 patients to one area of the facility;

· Random temperature checks for Associates;

· Requiring all Associates and visitors to wear masks;

Using telemedicine to treat active COVID-19 patients, so their caregivers and support staff limit the number of times they enter their rooms.

Virtual medicine is now available in every one of the CHRISTUS ministries at christushealth.org/virtual-medicine

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