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COVID-19 tests making Moffitt Cancer Center safer

Posted at 5:33 PM, Jul 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-21 17:40:20-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Moffitt Cancer Center is taking extra steps to keep their patients alive, and keeping its staff from getting COVID-19.

A cancer patient’s immune systems are already compromised, add COVID-19 and it’s a double whammy.

“They have the potential to have a much worse mortality rate,” said Dr. Bryan McIver.

That’s why Dr. McIver and his colleagues at Moffitt developed their own rapid COVID-19 test.

They can now test patients — on site— “a day or two” before their surgery.

If the test comes back positive, Dr. McIver said the patients are then categorized from “A to C,” with “A” being the most severe.

“Category A, is someone who is dying. If we don’t do something it's going to be catastrophic,” he said. “Irrespective of their COVID status we would simply do the treatment they need.”

The good news is, the surgical team will have that information, and make sure they’re weaning their N95 mask, face shields and their usual PPEs.

The category “B and C” patients will be rescheduled. Dr. McIver said they usually give the “B” patients two weeks, and three weeks for the “C” patients since, in most cases, their conduction is lease severe.

“I can tell you this, I feel very safe working in this hospital and seeing patients every day,” said Dr. McIver.

The hospital has gone for doing 10 to 15 tests a day, to having the capacity to do up to 1,000 tests a day, according to Dr. McIver.