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Caring For Our Community

Caring For Our Community

UPMC expects to expand testing capacity for COVID-19 over the next week

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE - March 23, 2020

As one of the nation’s leading health care providers, UPMC wants to ensure you have access to the most up-to-date information about COVID-19.

We’ve created this weekly email to help keep you and your family informed about the latest developments in our efforts to test and care for COVID-19 patients. It will also contain important updates and news about other UPMC services that might be affected by COVID-19.

We realize that many of you have ongoing health care needs, and we are committed to ensuring that everyone has access to the care they need. If you have questions or concerns about your health care needs, you should follow up with your doctor directly so that you can make the most informed decision on how to proceed.

We know times like these create a lot of uncertainty. UPMC has been preparing for health challenges like this for many years. We have some of the world’s best doctors, researchers, and caregivers, all working to meet any challenge COVID-19 presents. We want to assure you that the entire UPMC team is focused on doing all we can to keep you and your loved ones safe during this time.

We are here for you, and we thank you for choosing and trusting UPMC.

Steven D. Shapiro, MD
Executive Vice President, UPMC
Chief Medical and Scientific Officer
President, Health Services Division

Leslie C. Davis
Senior Vice President, UPMC
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Health Services Division

UPMC Expands COVID-19 Testing

UPMC expects to expand testing capacity for COVID-19 over the next week.

Our health system tested about 80 select, symptomatic patients per day last week at a facility in Pittsburgh’s South Side neighborhood. We plan to double that amount over the next week to provide more help for people who need it.

So far, we have tested nearly 1,000 samples for COVID-19. Five of those samples tested positive.

News About COVID-19 from UPMC

On March 20, UPMC doctors held a press conference to discuss our ongoing COVID-19 preparedness efforts, testing capabilities, and elective procedures.

  • John Williams, MD, chief of the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases, has conducted research that, so far, shows no widespread community transmission in the greater Pittsburgh area.
  • Donald Yealy, MD, chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine, said performing some “elective” procedures is necessary because delays could have negative consequences on patient health. UPMC can still safely perform some procedures to provide high-quality care for our patients. Decisions are made through collaborative discussions with input from doctors, staff, and patients.
  • Graham Snyder, MD, medical director of Infection Prevention and Hospital Epidemiology, said UPMC is increasing its COVID-19 testing capacity and opening regional specimen collection centers. He also noted UPMC has an adequate supply of protective medical equipment. All appropriate measures have been made to protect our staff from COVID-19 and to support them if they feel they have been exposed.

Watch the press conference

What to Do If You Need Help

If you believe you were exposed to coronavirus but aren’t showing symptoms, call your doctor for advice. Use social distancing and self-isolation methods to avoid spreading the virus.

If you have symptoms that are flu-like, including fever, cough, and shortness of breath, call your doctor. If you do not have a doctor, use UPMC AnywhereCare. UPMC Urgent Care locations cannot collect specimens or test for COVID-19.

If you are experiencing severe symptoms such as trouble breathing, you should visit an emergency department in your community for immediate care.

If you can, call ahead of time so staff may prepare for your arrival and prevent the spread of any illness. Do not delay if you have severe breathing problems. Visit UPMC.com/COVID19 for more information.

Virtual Care Option for Patients

If you’re feeling sick, UPMC AnywhereCare can help – without you even needing to leave home. You can use a smartphone, computer, or tablet to reach a medical professional 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

A virtual care visit also can help limit the spread of infection. If you do need more care, we will help guide you to the next care site.

Visit UPMC AnywhereCare for more information or a consultation. Your wait time may be longer because of heavy usage.

Changes to Visitation Policies

UPMC is temporarily limiting visitors in response to COVID-19.

The changes, which apply to all hospitals and facilities, help ensure the safety of patients and staff, and lower the risk of exposure to COVID-19 and other illnesses.

Exceptions will be made in end-of-life and special circumstances. View our visitation policy for more.

In addition, UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics has changed office hours for both sick and well patients at most of its locations. Walk-in hours are temporarily canceled, but offices are still open. For more information and to view the new hours, visit UPMC Children’s Community Pediatrics online.

What to Know About COVID-19

COVID-19 is a respiratory disease with symptoms that include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. It also can cause health complications, such as pneumonia.

Learn more about COVID-19 on UPMC HealthBeat

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