One of Chicago’s leading children’s hospitals had to scrap plans to host a mobile testing site, which was scheduled Tuesday on the city’s north side after it said both of its vendors weren’t able to fill orders for testing supplies.
It’s another example of how difficult it can be to get tested for Covid-19.
Julie Pesch, spokesperson for Lurie’s Children’s Hospital, told CNN the site was designed to be for pediatric patients not admitted to the hospital who are experiencing symptoms of the virus.
The hospital was hoping to alleviate an onslaught of pressure both its hospital and individual pediatricians across the city are facing. But because of the high demand for testing and a lack of testing supplies like nasal swabs, those plans were cut short on Friday.
“Our normal operational process is to hold 2-4 days of supply on a product like this. Last week (March 16) when we went to purchase an elevated quantity, due to the Covid-19 needs, we were informed by both our primary and secondary vendors that they were not able to fill orders,” Pesch said
The hospital was hoping parents with an appointment would be able to get a child tested every 15 minutes. But now the hospital says sick patients will need to go through their regular pediatricians for testing.
The lack of supplies to launch such an effort “is a big deal,” Pesch said. “The more testing that we can do, that means the less children that we have in the emergency department, in the pediatrician's office. That means we don’t have to use as much PPE. That is the main message that we’re trying to get across.”
“Other hospitals are in the same situation,” said Danny Chun, spokesperson for the Illinois Health and Hospital Association. The lack of testing supplies remain a problem, he added.
The Advocate Aurora Health hospital system announced Friday that it was suspending a similar program that had already launched because of the national shortage of test kit supplies.