UW Medicine to test all patients for coronavirus

UW Medicine hospital room
UW Medicine says it’s taking measures to ensure that health care workers can safely care for hospital patients amid the coronavirus pandemic. (UW Medicine via YouTube)

The University of Washington’s medical system says it’s begun testing all patients admitted to its hospitals for coronavirus.

The change in policy recognizes the fact that some patients may carry the virus that causes COVID-19 even if they don’t have the best-known symptoms of the disease, such as fever or a dry cough.

“We are finding people who are asymptomatic who have COVID in their nasopharynx when we swab them,” Chloe Bryson-Cahn, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, said in a video about the policy change.

UW Medicine spokeswoman Susan Gregg said the previous policy was to test only patients who were being admitted with COVID-19 symptoms. “Now we will be testing all patients admitted to the hospitals even if they do not have symptoms,” she told GeekWire in an email. “This is similar to some of our surveillance activities to see who may be colonized with a particular resistant bacteria.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributor to GeekWire and Universe Today, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," past president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing.

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