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Children's National Hospital begins drive-thru pediatric testing for coronavirus

This is the first drive-thru coronavirus testing site in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON — As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, medical officials have not forgotten the area's youngest population who are also at risk of the virus.

Children's National Hospital in D.C. will now offer drive-thru and walk-up location coronavirus testing for children and young adults up to 22 years old, according to a news release sent by the hospital.

The idea for a young patient testing site came as pediatricians in the community faced challenges on properly evaluating them for COVID-19.

“We are so grateful to everyone who has contributed time, support, space and energy to this effort,” says Kurt Newman, M.D., president, and CEO of Children’s National Hospital. “The hope is that we created an additional, more convenient option for the primary care doctors in our community to safely identify the children who require quarantine and care. It also means fewer families will be forced to visit an emergency department for a COVID-19 test.”

In order for young patients to be seen at the location, they must be referred by their pediatrician or another primary care doctor as a patient with symptoms or at a high risk of contracting COVID-19. The parent or guardian must show a paper copy or electronic copy of the physician referral form completed by their primary care provider. 

Referrals are needed because the hospital does not have the capacity to test those who think they need testing, rather than those who have been urged by a doctor to be tested, said Joelle Simpson, M.D., medical director of Emergency Preparedness at Children’s National. 

Specimens are then sent to Quest Diagnosis, an offsite laboratory. All results are communicated back to the family by the referring doctor when they are returned in three to five days.

Credit: Children's National Hospital
Children's National Hospital drive-thru/walk-up testing

To learn more about how families can get a physician referral, click here.

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