IN-HOUSE COVID-19 testing will be “game changer” at Warrington Hospital when it is hopefully introduced in early June says the hospital’s Chief Executive Professor Simon Constable.
Tests currently carried out at the hospital, which now number well over 4,000, take up to 48 hours to come back from labs in Manchester, whereas once they are done in-house by the hospital’s own microbiology team, results will be available in between 1-4 hours.
“This will be a game-changer to have in-house testing,” said Prof Constable.
“We are hoping to introduce this in early June and it will be really helpful to have it done in-house. It will make everything a lot safer for patient and staff screening.”
With seven COVID-19 patients on the hospital’s ICU as of last Friday, Prof Constable says there has been a “steady decline” in cases since the peak over the Easter weekend.
The hospital had ramped up its critical care unit to a capacity of 46 fully ventilated beds, but thankfully it had never reached capacity and at one stage they had plans to escalate to 90 beds – five times the usual capacity.
Now with over 230 service changes at the hospital to deal with the COVID-19 crisis, Prof. Constable says it is time to start a “gentle increase in returning to normal activity.”
But this would involve social distancing and ensuring the correct PPE and staffing levels.
He said the hospital had tested over 1,000 staff, with around one third testing positive. The majority had not been seriously ill but Prof Constable said his worst fear came true following the sad loss of male nurse Jo (Joselito) Habab last week.
“It had been my worst nightmare losing one of our team and that sadly came true with the loss of Jo, who will be sadly missed by his family and many friends at the hospital.”
Meanwhile non COVID-19 related patient numbers are gradually returning to normal at 50-60 per cent of their usual levels.
Prof Constable added: “The next phase has to be cautious and it is important to regain public confidence and show them that we are doing things well.”
Also the hospital is, as always, on the look out for new recruits, especially health care support workers.
For more details on job opportunities at the hospital CLICK HERE