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George Washington University Hospital to start coronavirus drive-thru testing

The new location will be able to see 20 to 25 patients per hour.

WASHINGTON — George Washington University Hospital and District health officials will open the first drive-thru coronavirus test site in Northwest for adults, receiving patients beginning Monday, April 6.

The facility will occupy a parking lot in the heart of the university’s Foggy Bottom campus, where patients queuing in their cars at H and 20th Streets would normally see a teeming tableau of student life.

The campus is now quiescent – as hospital physicians and health care workers are preparing for coronavirus assistance to ramp up.

"It has been all hands on deck for every piece of the health care system," Andrew Maurano, an emergency medicine physician assistant with GWU Hospital, said. "If any of our primary care providers still feel the question of, ‘where do I send my patient for testing?’ GW wants to be a solution." 

RELATED: Children’s National Hospital: Testing kids for coronavirus needed to limit outbreak

The hospital’s location will serve as the fourth drive-thru test site in the nation’s capital: United Medical Center in Southeast began its testing Friday, joining Children’s National Hospital and Kaiser Permanente’s Capitol Hill Medical Center near Union Station.

With all of the District’s testing sites, an examination is required first by a primary care provider. Members of the public are prohibited from driving to any of the facilities without a doctor’s note and an appointment.

Information on how to request an order for coronavirus testing can be found here.

"You want a physician’s examination first, because you want to make sure there's nothing else going on," Dr. William Borden said. "Say it’s congestive heart failure, or something else that needs another treatment, rather than just assuming this is COVID-19." 

Borden said the new location will be able to see 20 to 25 patients per hour. He reported GWU Hospital is prepared with its current level of personal protective equipment, but the facility is preparing to devote a large section of its building to COVID-19 patients, if cases spike in the capital.

"The question is, what is coming down the line?" Borden said. "We’re preparing for all circumstances, and we want to make sure if there are a surge of COVID-19 patients, we’re able to address that." 

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