Tanner Health System is continuing its battle against COVID-19 as testing in the state becomes crucial.
The demand for tests has not surpassed the need for tests. And while officials administer tests conservatively, facilities in the health system are currently able to test anyone who needs one, according to Missie Robertson, Nurse Executive at Tanner.
“The resources for testing are limited and we want to be conservative in our utilization,” Robertson said.
Robertson said that she thinks Tanner has been testing “aggressively” for this population and has made testing available for those with symptoms or exposure to the virus.
As of Monday, there had been 2,376 COVID-19 tests administered by the health system.
Weeks into the pandemic, Robertson said that health officials are starting to see the number of positive daily cases stabilize. Yet with so much uncertainty, Robertson said that she is in a watchful state to see how things progress.
One strategy for testing includes the use of drive-thru testing, which allows individuals to receive testings without ever needing to step out of their car, a project that was personally spearheaded by Robertson.
The patient only has to roll down their window to receive the nasal swab, a method that approximately at least half of those tested are opting for, according to Robertson.
All appointments for testing need to come at the recommendation of a physician, and the drive-thru testing cannot be used by anyone who hasn’t been referred.
Because of the nature of the virus, and because testing for COVID-19 is new, there is not a clear picture of how widespread the virus may be in the community. There are both false negatives or false positives in the testing, and Robertson said that the illness can be prolonged and wax and wane over time, so it is difficult to rely on just testing.
Instead, physicians can use strategies put forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, such as looking at specific symptoms, lab results and imaging.
“I am personally in a watchful state to see if we will continue to see things stabilize as we move forward. It’s just hard to predict,” Robertson said.