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New COVID-19 screening tool announced by Christus Health System produces results in 10 minutes

Christus Health System said they will now be using it to test associates and caregivers at their hospitals, as well as some patients.

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Christus Health System announced Tuesday a new screening tool that can detect if patients or their caregivers have been infected with COVID-19 in the past, or if they have it now.

It's an antibody test that has been assessed for the last several weeks at Christus hospitals and ambulatory sites across the country, as well as in Latin America. It produces results in about 10 minutes and Christus Health System said they will now be using it to test associates and caregivers at their hospitals.

"Beginning today, we are adding the unprecedented additional layer of antibody screening to help survey for asymptomatic COVID-19 infections among patients and caregivers," said Dr. Sam Bagchi, CHRISTUS Health’s EVP and Chief Clinical Officer.

The antibody test will also be used to screen hospitalized patients that are believed to have been infected with COVID-19, or those are scheduled to have an urgent surgery.

“People should not put off urgent and emergent procedures, and should continue to seek the care they need. We know that, regardless of COVID-19, heart attacks and strokes have not stopped. We need to be able to treat people who urgently need to be in an operating room,” Dr. Bagchi said. "With the availability of an antibody test, we can test anyone who comes in for an urgent surgery. This will allow us to reliably know if a patient has COVID-19 before they start having symptoms or might normally be tested.”

The screening will be used in addition to the existing PCR, or polymerase chain reaction, tests currently being used by Christus Health System and other health care providers.

For the latest updates on coronavirus in the Coastal Bend, click here.

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