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Staying Resilient during Covid-19
Coronavirus virus outbreak and coronaviruses influenza background as dangerous flu strain cases as a pandemic medical health risk concept with disease cells
While the media’s attention has focused on hospital shortages and long-term care issues, covid 19 has forced labs to make rapid changes to their programs. The great news is that most laboratories have stepped up to get the job done in amazing ways.
Shortage of Laboratory Supplies
One of the most frustrating things for lab professionals, in the beginning, was the lack of supplies. The shortage of detection supplies was alarming to many lab directors. People in lab administration refused to give up, however, so they started thinking outside the typical framework. As more tests of a different type became available, these professionals were required to change their methods again while working tirelessly to make sound business decisions based on constantly changing information. Yet, they proved that they were more than capable of rising to the occasion.
Lack of Space
If you had asked lab administration at the end of 2018 to imagine a world where they were testing almost every individual, most would have said no. Yet, as of the end of December 2019, labs have tested 719 of every 1,000 people living in the United States. That type of volume required labs to find new space quickly. Further compounding the issue, except in the very early days, labs had to keep up with their average patient volume. Labs have successfully risen to the task set before them by working around the clock and finding more lab space in existing and new structures. As an industry, they have also learned to collaborate instead of seeing each other as competitors.
New Safety Protocols
During the outbreak, many new words entered people’s vocabularies. One of them was social distancing. Labs had to make sure that their employees were also social distancing. This requirement made the need for new working space or running multiple shifts vital. Additionally, as workers got tired, they had to be watched to make sure that they did not make careless mistakes. Many lab workers volunteered to work 20-hour shifts in the beginning without even being asked. Unfortunately, as the pandemic continued, some employees tested positive and had to quarantine or lived with someone who tested positive, making staff shortages even more severe. Yet, labs managed to rise to the occasion because, as administrators have long known, lab workers work endlessly to be part of public health solutions.
Shortfall in Comprehension
Medical professionals at all levels, including lab technicians, have learned a whole new vocabulary. They can tell you about the difference between a diagnostic test and an antibody test. They can also explain the difference between a PCR and an antigen test. Doctors were confused too, so lab workers often found themselves explaining to others in the medical community what was available and helping to decide which tests fit the patient’s needs the best. Amazingly, lab workers did it with a smile on their faces, even after very little sleep.
Need for Laboratory Preparation
Across the world, teams were behind when this pandemic struck because no one took early steps to steps to recognize the danger and mitigate it soon enough. Lab administrators need to spend more time playing “what if” games globally with different small pockets of infections. This step will help them get the supplies and equipment required in place faster and may be vital in keeping conditions from spreading.
Doctors need to be sure that they are using the best referral labs for their patients. Those labs have the workers in place to handle any crisis. Contact us today so that we can discuss working with you now and far into the future.
Specialty Screening Labs is an accredited high-complexity clinical reference laboratory concentrating on esoteric toxicology and genetic analysis. We provide services to physician offices, substance abuse clinics, mental health facilities, rehabilitation programs, and much more.