Washington Business Journal: VHC stands up drive-thru testing site
By Drew Hansen – Assistant Managing Editor, Washington Business Journal
Mar 18, 2020, 8:42am EDT
Updated Mar 18, 2020, 8:51am EDT
Virginia Hospital Center is teaming with Arlington County to launch a drive-thru testing site for the coronavirus.
Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington announced late Tuesday it is partnering with several county agencies to open a temporary, appointment-only drive-thru COVID-19 sample collection site at 1429 N. Quincy St. near Virginia Square.
Samples will be collected from only Arlington residents, county and school system employees and patients of VHC medical staff. The facility opens at 9 a.m. Wednesday and will be open between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays.
The site is only for patients exhibiting coronavirus symptoms, including fevers, chills, cough or shortness of breath, that have received a written order for testing from a licensed health care provider. VHC said the testing site is not meant for asymptomatic patients, including those that have been in close contact with someone diagnosed with COVID-19.
Patients who have received a physician’s order should call VHC’s COVID-19 scheduling line at 703-558-5766 between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to make an appointment before arriving.
Arrivals at the site will be asked to remain in their cars. Test results will be available with five to seven days after collection.
“The opening of this temporary facility allows us to meet the urgent needs of our community while our Emergency Department continues to serve those who require immediate medical attention,” VHC President and CEO James Cole said in a statement. “We are grateful to our staff as well as our colleagues at public health, police and fire for their exhaustive efforts to make this sample collection site possible.”
Here’s a look at what other hospitals and clinics in the region are doing to prepare for an influx of patients.
Washington Post: 60 tested at new drive-through center in Arlington
By Patricia Sullivan
March 18, 2020
Virginia Hospital Center tested 60 people in its first six hours of collecting coronavirus swabs at a new drive-through center in Arlington, officials said Wednesday afternoon.
The tests, which are only open to Arlington County residents or employees with pre-submitted doctor’s orders, will take five to seven business days to be processed and get results.
Chief nursing officer Melody Dickerson said the testing is going smoothly and she is confident that the hospital has enough test kits for the immediate future.
Virginia Hospital Center Partners with Arlington County to Open COVID-19 Sample Collection Site
For Immediate Release
Director of Corporate Communications
Virginia Hospital Center
Arlington, VA: March 17, 2020 – Virginia Hospital Center (VHC), a community-based hospital providing medical services to the Washington, DC metropolitan area for 75 years, has partnered with the Arlington County Public Health Department, the Arlington County Police Department, the Arlington County Fire Department, the Arlington County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Environmental Services to open a temporary drive-through COVID-19 sample collection site at 1429 N. Quincy Street.
“Arlington County is appreciative of our partnership with Virginia Hospital Center to facilitate sample collection for our community at this drive-through center,” said Arlington County Board Chair Libby Garvey. “This is an important collaborative effort at a critical time.”
- Samples will be collected from Arlington residents, Arlington County Government employees and Arlington Public Schools employees, and patients of VHC Medical Staff.
- This site is for sample collection from symptomatic patients (fevers, chills, cough, or shortness of breath) who have received a written order for COVID-19 testing from a licensed healthcare provider. This is not meant for asymptomatic patients, even those who have had a close contact with a known COVID patient.
- Physicians with symptomatic patients can send orders to the Virginia Hospital Center outpatient lab electronically in EPIC or via fax to 703-558-2448.
- Once they have received a physician’s order, patients should call the VHC COVID-19 Scheduling Line at 703-558-5766 between the hours of 8:30 am and 3:30 pm. Patients must schedule an appointment before visiting the collection site.
- Individuals arriving at the drive-through site will be asked to remain in their cars.
- The sample collection center will officially open Wednesday, March 18 at 9:00 am and will remain open on weekdays from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
- Individuals who visit the collection site are encouraged to follow the instructions of their health care provider and self-quarantine while they await their results. Test results will be available to the patient within five to seven business days.
“The opening of this temporary facility allows us to meet the urgent needs of our community while our Emergency Department continues to serve those who require immediate medical attention,” said James B. Cole, President & CEO of Virginia Hospital Center. “We are grateful to our staff as well as our colleagues at public health, police and fire for their exhaustive efforts to make this sample collection site possible.”
To protect patient privacy, media access to the site will be restricted. Photos for use by media outlets are available here and media will be updated regularly as new information becomes available. Information about scheduled media briefings and a media staging area will be provided in a second advisory.
- Expect additional traffic on N. Quincy between Washington Boulevard and N. 15th Street
- Expect delays if traveling in the area and/or seek alternate routes if not visiting the collection site
- Posted signboards in the area will direct those driving to the collection site
About Virginia Hospital Center:
Virginia Hospital Center has provided exceptional medical services to the Washington, DC metropolitan area for 75 years and was once again named a Leapfrog Top Hospital in 2019, and previously named one of America’s 100 Top Hospitals® and 50 Top Cardiovascular Hospitals® by Truven Health Analytics. The hospital is a proud member of the Mayo Clinic Care Network – a national network of independent healthcare organizations. Virginia Hospital Center is a 394-bed not-for-profit, teaching facility, and it is designated as a Magnet® hospital by the American Nurses Credentialing Center.
About Arlington County:
Arlington Va., is a world-class residential, business and tourist location that was originally part of the “10 mile square” parcel of land surveyed in 1791 to be the Nation’s Capital. Slightly smaller than 26 square miles, it is the geographically smallest self-governing county in the United States, and one of only a handful with the prized Aaa/AAA/AAA bond rating. Arlington maintains a rich variety of stable neighborhoods and quality schools, and has received numerous awards for Smart Growth and transit-oriented development. Home to some of the most influential organizations in the world — including the Pentagon — Arlington stands out as one of America’s preeminent places to live, visit and do business.
Washington Post: DMV hospitals work to expand testing, free up beds as covid-19 cases climb
By Jenna Portnoy, Rachel Chason and Kyle Swenson
March 17, 2020 at 10:18 p.m. EDT
As the number of Washington-area residents testing positive for the novel coronavirus climbs, hospitals are racing to enact a two-pronged strategy — expand testing capability and free up beds — in preparation for what could be a months-long response to the global pandemic.
Montgomery County hospitals are installing treatment and triage tents. Kaiser Permanente set up five drive-through testing sites in Maryland and Virginia for patients who have a prescription, and Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington and a health-care system in Hampton Roads, Va., are testing people via drive-through if they meet certain criteria.
Providers also are encouraging “virtual visits” to prevent the spread of the virus among the general population and medical community.
But as residents continue to struggle to access tests they say they need, medical experts in the Washington area and across the nation warn that the lack of adequate testing materials, limited supplies of personal protective equipment and too few beds mean the country is probably facing a dangerous situation.
There will be a bed shortage if the pandemic worsens, despite Maryland’s efforts to prepare for an influx of patients all at once, said Gene Ransom, chief executive of the Maryland State Medical Society.
“The biggest thing is: How big is the surge?” he said.
Gov. Larry Hogan (R) said Tuesday that Maryland will repurpose vehicle inspection program sites as drive-through testing centers, but testing will not begin until labs have the capability to actually run the tests. Otherwise, it would create “false hope,” he said.