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Asymptomatic testing begins for all CentraCare, Carris Health hospital patients

Asymptomatic COVID-19 testing for all hospital inpatients begins the week of July 8 at CentraCare and Carris Health hospitals.

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A health care worker holds a COVID-19 test tube at a testing site in Willmar. Erica Dischino / West Central Tribune

WILLMAR — Beginning this week, all CentraCare and Carris Health hospital inpatients will be tested for COVID-19 at their admission, even if they display no symptoms, the health systems announced in a news release. Testing will not be completed on patients who are currently hospitalized.

"By conducting asymptomatic testing, we will gain a further understanding of community spread, optimize our use of personal protective equipment, increase employee and patient safety, and better manage the care of those who develop symptoms during hospitalization," said Dr. George Morris in the news release. Morris is vice president of performance excellence and physician lead of CentraCare’s COVID-19 incident command.

Asymptomatic testing will take place as the patient is admitted to the hospital and once it's determined which unit they will enter. Asymptomatic testing will also take place in the emergency department. Pending test results will not halt admission.

Patients that have already taken an asymptomatic COVID-19 test will not need to test again.

Patients that test positive will be cared for in COVID-19 units and placed in isolation precautions.

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"We know asymptomatic testing will produce more positives, but that means we can identify and potentially treat a person earlier in the disease process which can result in a better outcome," Morris said.

Those seeking a COVID-19 test who are not being admitted to the hospital can contact the following:

  • Willmar Nurse Line at Carris Health: 320-441-5361; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
  • Redwood Nurse Line at Carris Health: 507-637-1730; 8 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday to Friday.
  • CentraCare Connect: 320-200-3200; open at all hours.

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