ST. CLOUD – Starting this week, CentraCare and Carris Health hospitals will test every patient for COVID-19 as they're being admitted to the hospital - whether or not they are exhibiting symptoms.

CentraCare says patients who need to be hospitalized will still be admitted while test results are pending. Those who test positive will be cared for in units specifically dedicated to COVID-19, or will be placed in isolation.

Asymptomatic testing will also take place in the emergency room on patients who need to be admitted.

CentraCare says anyone who has already undergone asymptomatic COVID-19 testing, such as before a surgical or elective procedure or as part of pregnancy care, will not be retested. Tests will also not be given to patients who are already hospitalized.

Dr. George Morris, CentraCare’s COVID-19 physician lead, says asymptomatic testing will help medical professionals gain a greater understanding of community spread, increase employee and patient safety, and help medical workers manage the care of patients who develop symptoms while hospitalized.

"We know asymptomatic testing will produce more positives, but that means we can identify and potentially treat a person earlier in the disease process which can result in a better outcome," Dr. Morris said.

To learn more about COVID-19 testing, contact CentraCare Connect at 320-200-3200 or visit the CentraCare eClinic.