Sparrow processes 300,000th COVID-19 test; PCR most accurate

Sparrow processes 300,000th COVID-19 test; PCR nasopharyngeal test continues to be most accurate

Published: Monday, November 30, 2020

LANSING, MI – As Sparrow achieves another COVID-19 testing milestone, performing its 300,000th test, and expects a post-Thanksgiving uptick in demand, our experts are urging Mid-Michigan residents to choose the PCR nasopharyngeal swab because it is the most sensitive and accurate barometer of whether you have the virus.

Sparrow has streamlined its testing process by allowing patients to use our “Symptom Checker” and MySparrow portal to register for a test. The self-registration is so easy it can be done within a couple minutes. The MySparrow app registration and login is available at

We are also expanding our testing capability to meet recent increases in demand and work toward a 1-2 day turnaround on results, far faster than most labs across the country.

It took Sparrow only about six weeks to move from processing 200,000 tests to reach 300,000, and many are expecting those numbers to rise sharply in light of any concerns from gatherings during Thanksgiving week.

Sparrow continues to perform only the gold standard PCR nasopharyngeal swab test because less sensitive processes, such as the rapid antigen test, may have a greater false negative reading and are approved by the FDA only for symptomatic people within their first 5-12 days of symptoms.

The risk of relying on these rapid tests, and increasing the likelihood of unwittingly spreading the virus in the community, is too great, especially since the PCR nasopharyngeal swab method is so readily available at Sparrow. Sparrow continues to offer tests to anyone who believes they need one and has been able to shorten the wait time for this gold standard process while still serving the needs of the community.

Sparrow has been a national leader in COVID-19 testing, becoming one of the first hospitals in Michigan to offer tests for inpatients and using innovative processes to increase access and availability. Our Frandor drive-thru site alone has processed over 100,000 tests.

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Sparrow Health System is Mid-Michigan’s premier healthcare organization and includes hospitals in Lansing, Carson City, Charlotte, Ionia and St. Johns, as well as Sparrow Specialty Hospital, Physicians Health Plan, Sparrow Care Network, Sparrow Medical Group and the Michigan Athletic Club. Sparrow is affiliated with Michigan Medicine through the Sparrow Children’s Center and with Michigan State University’s three human health colleges. Through these partnerships and the dedication of our 10,000 caregivers, Sparrow pursues a vision to be nationally recognized as a leader in quality and patient experience. For more information, visit