458. Molecular SARS-CoV-2 Testing During the COVID-19 Outbreak: Experiences of a Hospital in Southeast Michigan, USA

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Open forum infectious diseases



The novel Coronavirus SARS CoV-2 (COVID-19) outbreak was complicated by the lack of diagnostic testing kits. In early March 2020, leadership at Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak Michigan (Beaumont) identified the need to develop high capacity testing modalities with appropriate sensitivity and specificity and rapid turnaround time. We describe the molecular diagnostic testing experience since initial rollout on March 16, 2020 at Beaumont, and results of repeat testing during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in MI.


Beaumont is an 1100 bed hospital in Southeast MI. In March, testing was initially performed with the EUA Luminex NxTAG CoV Extended Panel until March 28, 2020 when testing was converted to the EUA Cepheid Xpert Xpress SARS-CoV-2 for quicker turnaround times. Each assay was validated with a combination of patient samples and contrived specimens.


During the initial week of testing there was > 20 % specimen positivity. As the prevalence grew the positivity rate reached 68% by the end of March (Figure 1). Many state and hospital initiatives were implemented during the outbreak, including social distancing and screening of asymptomatic patients to increase case-finding and prevent transmission. We also adopted a process for clinical review of symptomatic patients who initially tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 by a group of infectious disease physicians (Figure 2). This process was expanded to include other trained clinicians who were redeployed from other departments in the hospital. Repeat testing was performed to allow consideration of discontinuation of isolation precautions. During the surge of community cases from March 16 to April 30, 2020, we identified patients with negative PCR tests who subsequently had repeat testing based on clinical evaluation, with 7.1% (39/551) returning positive for SARS- CoV2. Of the patients who expired due to COVID-19 during this period, 4.3% (9/206) initially tested negative before ultimately testing positive.




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