TAMPA, Fla. — As demand for COVID-19 coronavirus screenings increases, Tampa General Hospital and AdventHealth have both developed in-house tests instead of solely relying on external labs to process results.

Dr. David Wein, chief of emergency medicine at Tampa General Hospital, said TGH developed the in-house test late last week and has also received approval from the FDA. 

“We're following CDC guidelines, Florida Department of Health guidelines for who gets the test,” he said.

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TGH spokesperson Curtis Krueger said the screening allows doctors to use the same primers and probes as the CDC test on TGH equipment. 

“Samples are taken using oral and nasopharyngeal swabs, and lab results can be obtained within 12 hours. We have tested a number of patients, and at this time TGH has no COVID-19 patients. We are in constant communication with local and state Departments of Health, as well as the CDC. At this time, we are able to conduct 100 COVID-19 tests each day,” he said.

Krueger added that patients who have COVID-19 symptoms and meet criteria for testing are placed in a negative pressure isolation room. 

Those who do not meet criteria are sent home, advised to remain in quarantine and receive follow-up from the Florida Department of Health.

AdventHealth has three sites where patients with a doctor’s referral can get swabbed for COVID-19. A trained worker meets patients at their vehicle to take the sample.

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A spokesperson for the company said its Tampa location has also started in-house testing to help alleviate the burden placed on public health agencies. Tampa is one of three AdventHealth locations in Florida to use this process. Spokesperson Ashley Jeffery said, in an email, tests are limited and require a doctor’s order. 

Doctors will only test those who meet CDC guidelines for COVID-19 testing.

Emerald Morrow is a reporter with 10News WTSP. Like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter. You can also email her at emorrow@wtsp.com.

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