UPMC Shares Plan to Test Patients for COVID-19 and Restore Essential Care

By: Allison Hydzik

UPMC has begun COVID-19 testing in patients scheduled for medically necessary essential care and will soon expand its testing to all asymptomatic patients, as well as frontline health care workers, across its U.S. hospitals, leaders announced today at a press briefing 

The academic medical center will share the data it collects with local, state and federal public health authorities and the general public to aid in decision-making about reopening society and the economy

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“The UPMC plan to test each patient – even those showing no symptoms of COVID-19 – will give  patients, their families, our staff and the others in our hospitals the peace of mind and assurances that they can safely get the care they need,” said Dr. Donald Yealy, chair of emergency medicine at UPMC. “We are confident that our plan will get us back to what UPMC does best – provide excellent and leading medical care.” 

Dr. Yealy shared the plan after describing stories of people dying after delaying needed medical care out of fear of contracting COVID-19.  

UPMC Chief Quality Officer Tami Minnier laid out the extensive precautions UPMC has taken to prevent COVID-19 from accidentally being transmitted in UPMC facilities, and to continue providing health care workers with the gowns, gloves, masks and face shields needed to protect them and their patients.  

She also shared UPMC’s innovative solutions when faced with shortages, including using 3-D printers to create thousands of swabs that are used to collect nasal specimens for testing.  

“This is what UPMC does,” Minnier said, holding one of the 3-D-printed swabs. “We care for our patients, and we drive research and new knowledge about disease. And we don’t let anything – even a global pandemic – stop us. Our community knows this but it bears repeating: We are here for you.” 

UPMC will be regularly updating the community on this developing situation. Follow UPMC News for updates.