Huntsville Hospital CEO: COVID-19 testing can include employer requests

Coronavirus
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Huntsville Hospital CEO David Spillers said Wednesday the hospital has done more than 16,000 COVID-19 tests.

Madison County has had a total of 313 COVID-19 positive test results since mid-March and Tuesday there were more than 300 people tested in Huntsville, Spillers said during the regular Huntsville-area COVID-19 briefing.

Huntsville Hospital is also doing some testing of patients without COVID-19 symptoms.

“We’ve now done close to a 1,000, tested close to a 1,000, asymptomatic patients. And we’ve had one test positive,” Spillers said.

Spillers suggested a decision on getting testing should be guided by symptoms or known contact with the virus.

“We are finding a better use for testing asymptomatic patients, particularly as the economy has opened up,” Spillers said. “A restaurant has someone test positive and they need to test the employees who’ve been working with that person. Other businesses have called us, said ‘Hey we’ve had an employee test positive can we get our employees in and get them tested?'”

Spillers says that can be arranged.

“We’re going to continue to do that, provide that support for the community when they ask. We had at least three… two or three businesses yesterday, call us yesterday,” Spillers said.

The process is straightforward.

“An employee tests positive, the companies call us, and we generally set them up to come to the flu and fever clinic,” Spillers said. “They generally give us a list of all the employees that have been in close contact with the person who tested positive, and we check off the list and if somebody doesn’t show up we call the employer and say this person didn’t show up.”

Spillers said Madison County’s positive test rate is just over three percent. He added a number of asymptomatic people who show up for a test actually change their mind after the watching the procedure that requires a swab pushed far into a patient’s nasal cavity.

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