Testing a priority to accelerate downhill slope of COVID-19


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Yale New Haven Health is now testing health care workers who are asymptomatic. Of those showing no symptoms for COVID, two percent are turning up positive – reflecting results in other health care systems.

“As we see the downhill slope, in order for us to accelerate that downhill, it’s going to be important to get asymptomatic testing and get those folks that are testing positive isolated and do contact tracing,” says Chief Medical Officer Dr. Thomas Balcezak, “What we have done with these cases that we’ve found, we’ve actually sent them home for home stay and isolation in order to prevent that transmission.”

A vaccine could be developed by the end of the year but experts are cautiously optimistic of that occurring.

Dr. Balcezak says, “Short of that, I think the next best thing that we can do is to have frequent rapid accurate testing and ensure that we are isolating, contact tracing and not returning those people back into the general public that tests positive until they are sure to be negative.”

Those admitted are being treated with a number of non-drug interventions.

He says, “Like putting patients on ventilators and using ECMO, the extracorpeal membrane oxygenation machine, these heart lung machines that we use in very severe and unusual cases.”

Convalescent plasma therapy is also on the list.

“The limited amount of data,” says Dr. Balcezak, “That has been released has demonstrated that we know that it’s not causing harm in patients and it may have a modest improvement in all patients that it’s being used.”

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