Updated SARS-COV-2 Test Ordering Information

Published by David B. Roth, MD, PhD, on April 28, 2020

April 28 Update: From the Chair

Dear Members of the Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Community,

This week marks our eighth week responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. I want to pass along an important message from UPHS leadership because of the widespread need for extra support right now: "As leaders, we want to ensure all of our employees feel the support around them and are fully aware of the many resources we offer to help them during this challenging time. Each person faces unique obstacles in this period of uncertainty, and Penn Medicine's Workforce Wellness Committee has created a variety of offerings to meet everyone's needs. PennCOBALT is a web-based platform that provides curated mental health and wellness content, live groups, and individual virtual support. It uses targeted assessments to streamline content and triage the individual to the right level and type of support. It has embedded scheduling and telehealth capabilities to provide HIPAA-compliant mental healthcare at a safe distance."

Another leadership message I would like to forward to you comes from the President of Penn, Amy Gutmann: "We are deeply engaged in a planning process so that we can reopen for on-campus instruction as soon as possible. All of our decisions will be driven by the most current scientific evidence and the guidance of medical experts. This is the only way to ensure that a return to on-campus living and learning will be as safe as possible for everyone—students, faculty, staff and visitors. To that end, we have established a Recovery Planning Group that is examining the elements that would need to be in place to allow a safe return to more normal campus operations."

Our Department has issued updated SARS-COV-2 test ordering information on behalf of the COVID 19 Clinical Testing Oversight Committee. The PennChart orderable is effective as of today and includes additional approved services for testing as well as a consolidated list and expanded appendix for use. The UPHS COVID-19 intranet website includes new FAQs for SARS-CoV-2 Molecular Testing (PennKey required).

It is always inspiring to share landmark decisions and significant milestones such as the following: The National Academy of Sciences has announced the election of its newest members in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Among them is our own Dr. Carl June, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, who joins this distinguished group. The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit institution that was established under a congressional charter signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863. It recognizes achievement in science by peer election to membership. He is the third faculty member of our Department, after Peter Nowell and Douglas Wallace, to receive this prestigious honor.

Our colleague Dr. Susan Weiss and Department member Dr. Sara Cherry are featured in a New Yorker article on what the coronavirus crisis reveals about American medicine beyond its function of delivering care and support. Medicine is "also a system of information, quality control, and lab science," which "all need fixing." The article is definitely worth your time.

Finally for tonight: There will be a "display of gratitude" to salute and thank the healthcare workers and essential personnel who have supported the community in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Verge Aero, a start-up based at Pennovation Works, will fly a drone light show over Franklin Field. The show will begin at 8:50 PM tonight and last 10 minutes. Employees can watch from the HUP campus near 34th Street, between Spruce and Walnut Streets. Photos and video recordings are encouraged from afar, but please maintain and practice physical distancing at all times.

Please continue to take care of yourselves and help others whenever you can.

David Roth

David B. Roth, MD, PhD, is the Simon Flexner Professor and Chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in these blog columns are those of the authors or other attributed individuals and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Department, Penn Medicine, or the University of Pennsylvania. Health information is provided for educational purposes and should not be used as a source of medical advice or diagnosis.