Hospital’s drive-through coronavirus tests could be a model for Seattle and the world

A drive-through coronavirus testing web site arrange at a College of Washington hospital could function the model for extra such amenities round the Seattle space — and maybe round the nation.

For now, the web site in the parking storage of UW Medical Heart Northwest is obtainable solely by appointment for hospital staff.

“To this point, greater than 175 workers, college and trainees have requested testing, and as of finish of day Sunday, 94 have been examined for each flu and COVID-19,” Seth Cohen, the hospital’s medical director of an infection prevention and worker well being, advised GeekWire as we speak in an e-mail.

Cohen stated that’s simply the begin. “We are going to proceed to increase our capability at this location, and we hope to arrange extra areas in the metropolis to enhance entry to our workers,” he stated.

The essential thought is just like a idea pioneered in South Korea, which has taken benefit of drive-through booths in addition to different methods to run about 15,000 free coronavirus tests per day. South Korean public well being officers say the number of new daily infections has declined in recent days.

Seattle isn’t at that time but: Thirty-three new instances and three extra deaths have been reported as we speak in Seattle-King County, elevating the county’s complete to 116 confirmed instances and 20 deaths. However the rise in reported instances might be due partially to enhancements in Seattle’s testing functionality. It’s been lower than a week since UW Medicine started using its own genetic test for coronavirus.

Right here’s how the drive-through system works at UW Medical Heart Northwest: If staff have signs of an higher respiratory an infection — for instance, fever, a new cough and shortness of breath — they’ll drive into the storage and cease by the testing station. To cut back the threat of an infection, they keep of their automobiles whereas a nurse makes use of nasal swabs to take samples. The method takes about 5 minutes.

In 24 to 48 hours, the staff get their outcomes in addition to steerage on the subsequent steps to take.

“Our healthcare suppliers offering the testing are completely skilled in the use of non-public safety tools and in an infection prevention finest practices,” Cohen stated. “They enter skilled, and are repeatedly retrained on our protocols to make sure that these suppliers are protected. The protection of our workers is our utmost precedence.”

To date, none of the tests carried out at the drive-through station has turned up proof of COVID-19 coronavirus, “however we’re nonetheless seeing a truthful quantity of influenza in our clinic,” Cohen stated.

“If somebody tests optimistic for COVID-19, they’d be notified instantly by our workers and given extra directions on proceed. This often consists of house isolation, until their signs are worsening and they require extra medical analysis,” Cohen stated.

UW Medication staff who’ve been uncovered to COVID-19 may also get examined at different websites, akin to Seattle’s Harborview Medical Heart.

Cohen stated the drive-through process may effectively grow to be a part of the wider virus-tracking system currently being considered by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “We stay up for partnering with them in our clinic as a research web site,” he stated.

It might appear to be a makeshift pop-up web site, however Cohen expects the drive-through station to stay round for a whereas.

“Sadly, nobody is aware of but how lengthy the COVID epidemic will final,” he stated. “We’re getting ready for the lengthy haul in an effort to finest help our neighborhood.”

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