Sparrow processes 400,000th COVID-19 test; nasal swab PCR test continues to be most accurate

Published: Tuesday, February 16, 2021

LANSING, MI – Sparrow has performed its 400,000th COVID-19 test, responding to the continuing needs of the community for easily accessible testing with a quick turnaround.

Mid-Michigan residents are still turning out in large numbers for Sparrow’s nasal swab (PCR) test, the most sensitive and accurate barometer of whether you have the virus. Sparrow tallied its 400,000th test in a little less than a year since the pandemic hit Mid-Michigan and we began testing first Sparrow Hospital patients, then the community.

Sparrow has streamlined its testing process to allow patients who don’t have an order from a provider to use our “Symptom Checker” and MySparrow portal to register for a test. We have also expanded our testing capability to provide greater access and are reporting most results in one day, far faster than most labs across the country.

Sparrow continues to perform only the gold standard PCR nasopharyngeal swab test because less sensitive processes, such as the rapid antigen test, may have a greater false negative reading and are approved by the FDA only for symptomatic people within their first 5-12 days of symptoms.

The risk of relying on these rapid tests and increasing the likelihood of unwittingly spreading the virus in the community, is too great, especially since the PCR nasal swab method is so readily available at Sparrow. Sparrow continues to offer tests to anyone who believes they need one and has been able to shorten the wait time for this gold standard process while still serving the needs of the community.

Sparrow has been a national leader in COVID-19 testing, becoming one of the first hospitals in Michigan to offer tests for inpatients and using innovative processes to increase access and availability. Our Frandor drive-thru site alone has processed over 150,000 tests.

Go to Sparrow.org/lab for more information.

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Sparrow Health System is Mid-Michigan’s premier healthcare organization and includes hospitals in Lansing, Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia and St. Johns, as well as Sparrow Specialty Hospital, Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Care Network, Sparrow Medical Group, Michigan Athletic Club, and Al!VE. Sparrow is affiliated with Michigan Medicine through the Sparrow Children’s Center and with Michigan State University’s three human health colleges. Through these partnerships and the dedication of our 10,000 caregivers, Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and patient experience. For more information, visit Sparrow.org.