In a recent conversation with a clinical laboratory director, we discussed a topic that is certainly of grave importance to the near future of laboratory operations; namely, that testing for COVID-19 is likely to expand geometrically, signaling greater workloads for laboratories, not lesser. The ideal, of course, is that as testing increases, positive rates decrease, but this is not always the case. As has been seen in certain places, safeguards intended to stifle the spread of the virus are being ignored by many in the general public.
This is distressing, of course, for all health care practitioners and the laboratory is no exception. The reality is that clinical labs were already under strain to produce quality test results for a wide range of maladies before COVID-19 trampled its way in. So as laboratorians attempt to regain some sense of normal operations, we are well aware that this coronavirus will remain part of our professional and personal lives for some time to come. The duration and severity of that presence remains to be seen, but laboratorians will surely be at the forefront of efforts to reduce both.
The inimitable John Paul Jones, a Scottish-American sailor and naval fighter in the American Revolutionary War, once famously quipped, “I have not yet begun to fight!” when challenged by his opponent with the British Royal Navy as to whether he planned to surrender. Somewhat poetically, he is also quoted as having followed with, “I may sink, but I’ll be damned if I strike!” In this case, to strike one’s colors was to haul down the ship’s flag to signify surrender.
For many clinical laboratories, the fight against COVID-19 may be just beginning. As we continue to face this crisis collectively, the staff of MedicalLab Management calls on you to share your stories of challenge and success. We know that laboratory practice looms large outside of COVID-19, and we want to hear those stories too.
We encourage laboratory leaders every day to stay the course and continue the good fight. We recognize that this is a new kind of battle, but we will remain by your side throughout. We have no plans to strike our colors either.
With best wishes for continued health and safety,
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