Facing supply shortages, Advocate Aurora scaling back COVID-19 testing

An urgent care clinic at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee.

Last updated on August 7th, 2020 at 02:25 pm

Advocate Aurora Health is scaling back its COVID-19 testing efforts due to national supply shortages.

Beginning today, the Milwaukee- and Downers Grove, Illinois-based health system said it is consolidating its community testing sites in Wisconsin to one location at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee to “be most efficient with limited supplies.”

Advocate Aurora had previously expanded its testing sites to include locations in West Allis, Grafton, Oconomowoc, Kenosha, Oshkosh, Two Rivers, Burlington, Green Bay and Marinette. In Illinois, the system’s community testing sites and mobile units remain “temporarily on hold” because of the shortages.

Nationwide testing equipment shortages have led to testing backlogs, with some waiting several days for their results.

“Like many providers nationally, we have been forced to adjust our COVID-19 testing approach as testing supplies continue to be constrained and we experience a delay in anticipated shipments,” the health system said, adding that its approach is in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Advocate Aurora is also suspending testing before certain procedures, including gastrointestinal endoscopic procedures, interventional radiology and some cardiology procedures. The health system said team members performing those procedures will switch to “enhanced PPE” to ensure their safety without the testing.  

When it began resuming elective procedures at its Wisconsin facilities in May, Advocate Aurora announced its multi-pronged approach to increase its safety measures, which included testing every patient who undergoes an elective surgery. At the time, Advocate Aurora-owned ACL Laboratories had a capacity of about 1,500 tests daily and a 24-hour turnaround time for results.

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