LA MESA, Calif., (KGTV)— As the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) sends hundreds of new Coronavirus test kits around the world, local hospitals are converting their rooms to accommodate for Coronavirus and quarantine patients. 10News got a tour of one of Sharp Grossmont Hospital's isolation rooms.
The CDC announced Thursday that they have started to send 200 Coronavirus test kits to laboratories worldwide. One hundred fifteen will be sent to U.S labs, and 85 will be sent overseas. Each kit can test about 700 to 800 patients specimens. The test uses a technology that can provide results within four hours.
The kits are not FDA approved, but as of Tuesday, they are available under Emergency Use Authorization. The CDC said the kits themselves need to be tested in the laboratories before being used on patients. They expect the first test of patient specimens will take place sometime early next week. The 200 kits are part of the first batch being sent by the CDC. They will be sending more as they are developed.
As news of the kits spread within the medical field, local hospitals are preparing their rooms to accommodate possible Coronavirus patients.
From head to toe, nurses are shielded. They will wear special Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) needed when caring for an individual with Coronavirus.
"This mask is great because it also has eye protection," Emergency Department nurse, Kelly Yascheshyn, RN said. "And it keeps her mouth and her nose away from inhaling any of those droplets."
Although Sharp Grossmont Hospital does not have any patients with the virus now, hospital staff said they are fully prepared.
Every patient coming into the hospital is first asked if they have traveled to infected areas in the last month, or if they have come into contact with someone who has. They will also be asked if they are showing any symptoms of the virus. If the answers are "yes," they have several isolation rooms with negative pressure doors and medical ventilators.
"When we close the door, we can program it so that air that circulates within the room, it has a special ventilation system so that the air in this room stays in this room, and is regularly recycled or refreshed," Yascheshyn said.
Yascheshyn said the idea is to contain the patient inside during quarantine. Everyone coming in, including the patient, family, and medical stage, must take serious precautions.
"The care team members know what kind of protective equipment they need to wear, whether it be a mask, eye protection, a gown, or gloves, prior to entering," Yascheshyn said.
In high-risk scenarios, the nurses must also wear what is called a Powered Air-purifying Respirators, or PAPR. This is a portable ventilator with a hose that circulates clean air into the nurse's mask.
"It goes down through the back, through the holes, and then it is circulated through what we call a PAPR," Yascheshyn said. "And that's what keeps her a negative pressure room around her face. It gets her home to her family healthy and safe."
Sharp Grossmont has not taken samples from any patients exhibiting Coronavirus symptoms. They also do not have any in quarantine or isolation at this time.