At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic Spectrum Health Laboratory implemented a protocol to call providers and patients to notify of positive COVID-19 PCR testing. The pandemic has shifted to an endemic phase and a positive COVID-19 test is no longer considered a critical value. Effective Friday, August 26, 2022, Spectrum Health Laboratory will no longer call positive COVID-19 PCR testing, for inpatient or outpatient specimens.
Results for COVID-19 PCR will still file to the patient’s chart in Epic and reported to the ordering provider through usual means of receiving results (fax or electronic) and to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). Patient’s will still be notified via their MyChart as well.
If you have any questions or concerns, please use the “contact us” link above.
West Michigan influenza infections peaked mid-March 2022 and have been declining in the weeks that followed. Now with a low prevalence of circulating influenza, using the most sensitive diagnostic test is recommended in order to obtain accurate and actionable results. Influenza antigen testing (e.g. Sofia instrument) is no longer appropriate at this time and Influenza PCR testing should be ordered when clinically indicated.
More detailed information can be found as published by the CDC:
Algorithm to assist in the interpretation of influenza testing results and clinical decision-making during periods when influenza viruses are NOT circulating in the community, and in previous lab newsletters: Influenza Diagnosis and Test Utilization
On January 24th, 2022 Rubella Antibody, IgG, Serum (LAB496) and Rubella IgG Antibody Quantitative (LAB3544) will be combined as LAB496 and moved to the Immunochemistry laboratory due to reagent constrains with the current vendor.
Testing will be available Monday-Friday with a turn-around-time of 1-3 days. Results will be reported qualitatively as Immune or Not Immune. If quantitative results are needed, please fax Immunochemistry at 616-267-2771 or call 616-267-2770.
The mitigation strategies enacted during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the spread of this virus led to essentially non-existent influenza prevalence during the 2020-2021 winter season. However, influenza has now returned and case numbers are increasing throughout West Michigan.
Influenza prevalence guides the most appropriate testing approach and sufficient prevalence has now been reached for influenza rapid antigen testing (e.g. Sofia instrument) to have improved performance. The use of rapid antigen testing as a screening method during high prevalence reduces both the cost to the patient and turn-around-time as compared to lab-based molecular methods. Rapid antigen tests generally have high analytical specificity, but lack the sensitivity of nucleic acid amplification methods (e.g. PCR). For this reason, PCR testing is still recommended for hospitalized patients and for outpatients with a negative antigen result if influenza is still suspected and if the result will impact clinical decision making.