Laboratory Services Director Gets Results During the Pandemic

How Scripps labs stay ahead of the curve with COVID-19 testing

Winnie Carino is looking for answers when time is of the essence. As the system director of hospital inpatient labs at Scripps, she and her team are a vital part of providing care to coronavirus patients. Scripps’ efforts to secure and implement new COVID-19 testing platforms have quickly put the organization ahead of the curve — first working with an outside lab, then testing within our own lab, and then providing rapid testing at each hospital site. 

Scripps’ testing turning point was perhaps its launch at our hospitals of the fastest available molecular point-of-care test for detecting COVID-19. Due to the quick diagnostic turnaround, the difficult-to-acquire Abbott ID Now test is prioritized for use with hospital patients and those being admitted.

“We are proud of what we do. Our job is to provide the best lab tests available.”

“That rapid testing really expanded our capacity. The team worked really hard to go live as quickly as possible,” says Carino. “Testing is a crucial part of the response to coronavirus. The results help our caregivers on the front lines confirm when patients have the virus to speed treatment.”  

As it has for everyone, life has changed dramatically for those in the hospital labs during the pandemic, and the team is constantly adapting to updated information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The labs are staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week as the team continues to serve their mission. 

“We are proud of what we do. We are smiling and laughing through our PPE [personal protective equipment] and doing what we need to do for our patients,” says Carino. “Our job is to provide the best lab tests available.”

Caring for patients is a team effort

Caring for patients is a team effort

Carino credits teams across the Scripps system for working together rapidly and efficiently to implement COVID-19 testing.

“This is an amazing collaborative effort among all our teams, from supply chain and environmental services to IS and our doctors and nurses, as well as the supervisors who trained us,” Carino says. “The pandemic is a global issue, and it is rewarding to play a small part in the fight against it. It takes everyone here to serve the community.”


As well as caring for patients with COVID-19, hospitals are continuing to care for patients with other medical issues such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes. The labs screen whatever tests are needed so doctors and clinical staff can make informed decisions and provide the best care.

Of course, support from the community inspires Carino and her team, including donations of lunches and signs posted outside the hospitals. 

“Our community is so encouraging,” she says. “To all of the people who give back, thank you. You are helping to keep us going.”

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