Originally Published in Quality Health & Wellness Magazine | Fall 2020
Written by: Lisa Erlinger, PhD, CRNA
Director of Anesthesia Services
Wickenburg Community Hospital
Increased Surgical Patient Safety with Rapid COVID-19 Testing
Through the relentless efforts of our laboratory manager, Marilyn Ward, the Surgical Center at Wickenburg Community Hospital has been fortunate in obtaining Sofia2 SARS Antigen FIA testing for COVID-19. An advanced lateral flow immunofluorescent sandwich assay, the Sofia 2 SARS Antigen FIA, used with the Sofia 2 instrument, provides qualitative detection of the nucleocapsid protein antigen from SARS-CoV-2, permitting automated and objective results in approximately 15 minutes.
Authorized for emergency use by the FDA, this advanced testing measure has been implemented as part of the pre-surgery process at Wickenburg Community Hospital in an effort to maintain a COVID-19 free environment for our patients and staff.
SARS-CoV-2, also known as the COVID-19 virus, was first identified in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China December 2019. This virus, as with the novel coronavirus SARS-1 and MERS, is thought to have originated in bats. However, SARS-CoV-2 may have had an intermediary host such as pangolins, pigs, or civets.
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared that COVID-19 was a pandemic on March 11, 2020, and human infection has spread globally, with hundreds of thousands of confirmed infections and deaths. The median incubation time is estimated to be 5.1 days, with symptoms expected to be present within twelve days of infection. COVID-19 shares common symptoms with other viral respiratory diseases such as fever, cough, and shortness of breath.
Upon being scheduled for a procedure, surgical patients are contacted by an RN trained in COVID testing to schedule their Sofia2 test. Most patients are scheduled for testing one day prior to their surgical procedure.
On the day of the test, patients check in to registration and are accompanied to the COVID-19 testing room. Each patient completes a questionnaire related to potential symptoms and possible exposure. After the patient’s identification check is confirmed, a nasal swab is performed by the RN and immediately sent to the WCH laboratory.
The patient collects a nasal swab sample by carefully inserting the swab (provided in the kit) into the nostril that presents the most secretion under visual inspection. The swab is pushed into the nostril using gentle rotation until resistance is met at the level of the turbinate’s (less than one inch into the nostril). The swab is then rotated several times against the nasal wall before being removed. After the nasal swab is complete, the patient returns home. Patient notification of testing outcomes is only provided in the event of a COVID-19 positive test result. If no phone call is received, surgery may proceed as scheduled.
While testing is typically completed the day before a scheduled surgery, if testing is performed the day of surgery, negative patient test results must be confirmed prior to entering the surgical department.
Read More About the WCH Surgical Center: https://www.wickhosp.com/service/surgicalcenter/
COVID-19 Guidance and Information: https://www.wickhosp.com/coronavirus-news/
Questions about Surgical Services?