Houston hospital increases COVID-19 testing capabilities

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HOUSTON- As COVID-19 continues to impact us, one of our local hospitals has upped their testing capabilities.

Texas Children’s is the first hopsital in the Medical Center to offer antibody tests for the virus and they are increasing their number of molecular tests as well.

Molecular tests are considered the best way to diagnose COVID-19, but as Dr. Sridevi Devaraj, Medical Director of Clinical Chemistry and Point of Care Testing at Texas Children’s Hospital, explains– the antibody tests they offer now play an important role too.

“Why do you want to find out if they did have the disease is because some of them, especially present later with complications, even though they were not highly symptomatic for the disease,” explained Devaraj.

This test can also be helpful for people who have recovered from COVID-19 and want to help others do the same.

“You want to know they have a high antibody level so that they can donate blood for the plasma donation, so this could be a screening test also to show you if you have antibodies if you can help others,” said Devaraj.

Texas Children’s has also increased the amount of molecular tests they are able to handle in a day. They are now between 500 and 1,000, which Dr. Devaraj says is especially important as more people are out and about.

“Its really important especially as we start opening up the economy and as we start having people go out to have people do a lot of different kinds of occupations. If you don’t isolate these patients then one will become many in too soon of a time,” said Devaraj.

As we navigate this “new normal”, Dr. Devaraj is encouraging the community to take it slow and be informed.

“We’ve got to head slowly out, we have to open up the economy, it’s an important aspect, but we’ve got to be careful about it, listen to the experts and listen to the data that is coming out every day as we speak,” said Devaraj.

Click here to see the the latest COVID-19 data from the Texas Department of State Health Services. Currently, it is estimated there are more than 20,000 active cases and more than 44,000 Texans have recovered.

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