New York Will Dead Test More Often for Coronovirus and Flu


Cough, fever, chills – with rapid falls along the way, symptoms alone will not be useful in distinguishing Kovid-19 from cases that look similar to the flu. This means that regular testing for both viruses will be important – even, perhaps, after the death of some patients.


A train stands on the side of a building: refrigerated trucks used as refrigerator trucks in Manhattan in May.


© Hiroko Masuik / The New York Times
Refrigerated trucks used as refrigerator trucks in Manhattan in May.


This would be true, at least in New York, where officials recently announced a ramp-up in postmortem testing for coronovirus and flu. Deaths associated with respiratory diseases that were not confirmed before a person’s death should, according to the new regulation, be tested within 48 hours with both viruses.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker said in a statement last week, “These regulations will ensure we have the most accurate data possible of deaths as we continue to manage Kovid-19 while preparing for flu season.”

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The autopsy will take place in the care of deceased hospital patients and nursing home residents, as well as funeral directors or medical examiners, among those targeted for follow-up testing. If experts at a local facility cannot conduct the test themselves, they can ask the state to run the test in their public health laboratory.

Although the results of these tests will be too late to change the course of treatment of the deceased, they can help health authorities track the prevalence of both types of infections, as well as indicate that the deceased has Warn close contacts that they need to quarantine.

“People need to know who was sick around them,” said Dr. Pathgars, a pathologist at New Jersey Medical School. Said Valerie Fitzhugh. “If someone cannot be tested in life, why are they not tested immediately after death?”

Premature enforcement of the rules will also encourage counties to boost their testing readiness ahead of autumn and winter when seasonal viruses, such as the flu and respiratory syncytial virus or RSV, begin to flourish, a diagnostic in Mt. The pathologist Dr. Mary Fox said. Sinai Hospital in New York. In many parts of the country, cases of coronovirus are still decreasing every day – and when this type of disease breaks the picture, it will become more difficult to track.

“I think that is important for preparation,” Dr. Fox said.

In the early days of the epidemic, New York, like the rest of the country, struggled to rein in the virus. Many diseases went waste, including several thousand whose deaths were later presumed, but unconfirmed, the case of Kovid-19.

A lot has changed since spring, with Gareth Rhodes, deputy superintendent and special counsel at the New York State Department of Financial Services and Gov. Andrew M. A member of Cuomo’s virus response team said. Since testing began in March, New York is now running about 100,000 coronovirus tests a day, with a positivity rate of about 1 percent or less. While there are hundreds of hospitalizations across the state, daily deaths due to Kovid-19 have averaged in single digits since late August.

The new regulations also state that patients with fluke symptoms or a known risk for a coronavirus or flu virus should be tested for both pathogens. This reduces the likelihood that a case will be missed at first.

“We track fatal incidents very closely,” said Mr. Rhodes. At this point, he said, tests of New York’s coronovirus testing in medical settings are fairly consistent. “You can actually have a hospital in New York without testing,” he said.

The regulation does not apply to all deaths – just those suspected to be associated with a respiratory illness.

This means that the new rules on postmortem testing will probably not change the coronovirus case number too much, if at all. Since the announcement made last Sunday, Wadsworth State Laboratory has not yet received a request for a postmortem testing process, Mr. Rhodes said.

Nevertheless, the regulation may come in handy, for example, a death was to occur shortly after arrival at the hospital or in the coming time, or if an emergency temporary lab was closed, the tests could not run immediately. Without easy access to testing, others outside the care of a hospital or nursing home may die at home, or elsewhere.

A pathologist at the KK School of Medicine in Southern California, Drs. “It’s designed to catch anything that falls through the crack,” said Rosemary Shea.

Dr. Erin Brooks, a pathologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Drs. Erin Brooks said that a little test can also affect how bodies are placed in medical examiner’s offices, where resources and staff are under stress. For example, a positive test of coronovirus can confirm the cause of one’s death.

Many pathologists noted that coronovirus testing for terminally ill patients is ubiquitous in medical settings in other states, combination testing that includes the flu, including postmortem testing, is not common and may need to be considered .

More laboratories will need to invest in tests that can detect many types of pathogens at once. One of the tests conducted at Wadsworth, for example, is the so-called respiratory panel, created by a company called Biofire, as well as the discovery of genetic material from more than 20 types of bacteria and viruses, including coronoviruses and several types of flu. We do. Virus.

Some experts have said that proactive measures such as constant physical disturbances and wearing of vigilant masks could shock this year’s flu season, as they do in the Southern Hemisphere.

But “it is in our interest to prepare for the best,” Dr. Fitzhugh said, “And hope for the best.”

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