FCMH explains COVID test options

Cases have spiked in Fayette, hospital returns to no-visitor policy

By Jennifer Woods - and Ryan Carter

As of the end of July, Fayette County Memorial Hospital (FCMH) has completed just over 1,500 COVID-19 tests and will soon be offering the antibody test as well.

According to FCMH Leader of Business Development Whitney Gentry, the 1,500 tests “include local residents who have seen a provider at our facility or have been referred to us for testing. It also includes several extended care facilities in Franklin, Hamilton and other outlying counties that are serviced by our Lab department.”

There are two types of tests the hospital will be administering. The first that has been and is currently being offered is a nasal swab. The second is the test-to-come, which is a blood test that checks for antibodies to see if a person has previously had COVID.

“These are currently the only two types of tests that FCMH is offering. We feel these are the most accurate and sensitive tests due to their means of collection – blood and nasal swabs are going to offer the best specimens for an accurate diagnosis,” explained Gentry.

The nasal swab test through FCMH must be ordered by a provider.

According to Gentry, “this would include someone at an urgent care who the provider wants to test, a person who is required to have a test prior to a surgery or procedure, or even a patient at an extended care facility. If a patient would like to be tested and is an established patient, they can also do a telehealth phone visit with one of our providers in Same Day Care. If the provider feels it is necessary they will instruct the patient how to proceed.”

Fayette County Public Health (FCPH) reported 12 new confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county over the past two days (Thursday and Friday). These additional cases have been traced back to multiple households, according to FCPH.

For the first time, Fayette County is now at “Level 2 (Orange)” on the Ohio Public Health Advisory system, per the information provided by the Ohio Department of Health. The alert system is meant to be an early warning system to keep Ohioans aware of COVID-19 trends that are being observed based on data from cases, symptoms, and hospitalizations.

Level 2 indicates that there has been increased exposure and spread. Residents are encouraged to exercise a high degree of caution.

As of Friday afternoon, FCPH reported a total of 25 active cases in Fayette County with one individual currently hospitalized. FCPH is working with the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) to conduct contact tracing to determine if any of the close contacts of these individuals are sick. All of these close contacts are asked to quarantine themselves for 14 days and monitor themselves for symptoms of fever, cough, or shortness of breath. If you are not contacted, you did not have close extended contact with the cases.

Due to the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases in the community and the re-classification of Fayette County to Level 2, the hospital (FCMH) has returned to a no-visitor policy effective immediately, FCMH announced Friday. As always, exceptions may be made out of consideration for the patient’s needs.

Those who are traveling to FCMH for a COVID-19 test with a physician order are asked to use the curbside lab testing which is offered Mondays-Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Drive up to the curbside lab sign at the main hospital and call 740-333-2805.

“Our lab staff will direct you to either wait in your car or come to a particular room which will have a terminal clean after each patient. This allows staff to be fully prepared in prevention of spreading the disease,” explained Gentry. “If you come in the building to register please be prepared to wear a mask into the facility. Once registered you may be asked to wait in your car until the lab is ready to collect your specimen. We want to prevent as much traffic as we can to keep our community and employees as safe as possible.”

Those who are not an established patient but would like further instructions, call the Same Day Care Clinic at 740-333-3333.

According to Gentry, in most cases once the sample is collected it goes to the Ohio State University to be tested. The results are generally taking up to 72 hours to be received.

Although the majority of tests must go to Ohio State University due to restrictions on reagent, the same molecular testing is also being done at FCMH for inpatients and a few other cases, which yields results in one-to-two hours.

The blood test-to-come is the Immunoglobulin G (IgG) Antibody test. It is planned to be offered within the next couple of weeks and will help show past exposure to COVID-19.

The results of this test should be available after approximately 24 hours once taken.

Although anyone can go to FCMH and request to take this test without an order, it will cost approximately $65 out-of-pocket.

“The recommended testing time is 9-14 days after a suspected exposure. According to the CDC, antibodies in some persons can be detected within the first week of illness onset, but it is not known how long the IgG antibodies remain detectable following an infection. A positive test means you could have been infected with COVID-19 or a different coronavirus. Any positive antibody tests of patients who have not been previously confirmed with COVID will be counted by Fayette County Public Health as a probable case,” explained Gentry.

Another local option for COVID-19 testing is at CVS pharmacy, 1795 Columbus Ave. in Washington C.H. In order to test, a short questionnaire must be taken online and a testing time signed up for. This can be found at www.cvs.com/minuteclinic/covid-19-testing?cid=poct-covid19-mc-clinicvisit.

At the time of the scheduled test, the drive through at CVS should be utilized. The test is a self-administered swab. Results could take 6-10 days or longer due to high demand.

Cases have spiked in Fayette, hospital returns to no-visitor policy

By Jennifer Woods

and Ryan Carter