By Kathy Walsh

DENVER (CBS4)– National Jewish Health is now testing patients for suspected COVID-19. The hospital developed the diagnostic test in its in-house laboratories and National Jewish has created a clinic to evaluate sick patients. The hope is it will help take some pressure off emergency facilities.

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These days, when patients drive up to the entrance of National Jewish Health, they are stopped and screened.

Nurses and medical assistants in protective gear approach all cars and ask the questions we’ve all come to know.

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“Feel feverish or objectively have a fever, whether or not you have a new or worsening cough whether you have shortness of breath,” explained Dr. Stephen Frankel, EVP for Clinical Affairs at National Jewish Health.

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The idea is keep the novel Coronavirus out of the hospital as much as possible.

If the answer to any of the questions is ‘yes’ and the patient is showing symptoms the person is given a mask, sent to a separate entrance and evaluated at a newly created sterile clinic where they can test for COVID-19 with a test developed within the last few weeks at National Jewish.

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It is also processed at the hospital.

“And the results read out in 24 hours or less,” said Frankel. “Being able to get a result faster is better for patients, providers and the community.”

Right now, they can do about a hundred tests a day at National Jewish. They hope to soon be able to run up to 300. All testing depends on the availability of test kits.

Kathy Walsh

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