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By Dr. Peter J. Plantes

April 9, 2020

To see where new pockets of COVID-19 are developing, public health officials, hospital administrators, clinical providers, and clinical lab leaders should be tracking the trend for the percentage of test results that have detected COVID-19 in their communities.  A significant upward (1.5 to 2 times) trend over 5 to 7 days of this percentage compared to the previous 5 to 7 days indicates that a local rush toward the emergency room doorway and a surge in hospitalized and intensive care unit transfer patients should be expected within 8 to 21 days. 

The time to prepare everywhere is, of course, now. The time to brace your community and make final preparations at the hospital level—such as clearing beds, canceling elective surgery, issuing emergency back-up supplies of personal protective equipment (PPE) to the units— is in the 1 to 2 weeks after a significant acceleration of positive tests occurs. When that acceleration happens,  your community is soon to be hit by the COVID-19 tsunami.  

The obstacle to using this trend as an indicator of when demands on a local healthcare system are likely to increase is having timely lab testing data available that clearly shows this trend at the county and local level. That’s why a coalition of 20,000+ clinical lab testing ordering locations have supplied data to the CV19 Lab Testing Dashboard powered by hc1 to further understanding of the COVID-19 pandemic spread. Approximately 40% of all COVID-19 Lab Testing performed in the United States is being loaded daily by hc1 into the analytical, graphing, and mapping elements of the dashboard. Fill out the form at to gain access to this free public health resource.

As more clinical laboratories join the CV19 Lab Testing Dashboard Coalition, the dashboard becomes ever more powerful locally. So encourage your local COVID-19 testing center lab to join the Coalition where together we are collectively gathering de-identified lab testing data into the dashboard’s analytic tools.


About the Author

Peter J. Plantes, M.D. has three decades of experience creating service and delivery solutions that enhance marketplace success and clinical performance for clinical practice groups, academic faculty group practices, hospitals, health systems, and health care organizations. His success stems from his ability to blend and synergize clinical knowledge, operational expertise, financial performance, and collaborative methodology with his deep commitment to serve patients and improve the health of the community. Dr. Plantes has served in CEO & Physician Executive roles for a number of large healthcare clinical delivery networks including regional community networks, academic practices, national hospital networks, international health systems (Chile, Colombia),  and corporate managed care/HMO networks. 

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