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50 Workers Back at Cape Cod Healthcare; In-House COVID Testing Begins

Liz Lerner

Cape Cod Healthcare has acquired a machine to run COVID-19 tests in-house, and 50 of the more than 600 furloughed workers have returned.


CEO Mike Lauf said the testing system, the Hologic Panther, can handle 794 tests a day.

“We can do COVID testing in-house now with a turnaround time of four hours, which really gives us a huge advantage,” he said.

He said Cape Cod Healthcare plans to expand its testing requirements to include patients whose physician is not affiliated with the health system. He also plans to open a second testing site on the campus of Falmouth Hospital in addition to the one at Cape Cod Community College.

State reopening rules have allowed hospitals to resume certain high-priority care, but not elective procedures.

Lauf said it’s far from a return to normal. They have far fewer patients and have not been able to bring back more emplpyees.

“Between the restrictions still being in place, in terms of what can and can’t be done from an elective perspective, and patients ... still being somewhat leery of the virus and the response, we’re still kind of where we were a month ago,” he said.

Right now, hospitals can do pediatric care and treat high-risk patients and conditions. Elective procedures won’t begin to open until Phase 2, and the details of how that will happen are unclear. Phase 2 could start Monday with Gov. Charlie Baker's approval.