Seattle hospital offers drive-thru COVID-19 testing for healthcare staff

Employees at Seattle-based University of Washington's UW Medicine can get tested for the novel coronavirus at a drive-thru clinic in UW Medical Center Northwest's parking garage, NPR reports. 

The clinic, able to test a person every five minutes, consists of three medical tents on the first floor of an open parking garage.

"Because of the way this virus could be spread, we want to make sure there's good ventilation," Seth Cohen, MD, chief of the infectious disease clinic at UW Medical Center Northwest, told NPR.

Nurses in full personal protective gear approach the car, taking nostril swabs through the car's open window. The samples are sealed to be processed within a day or so. The nurse then changes into fresh protective gear.

"We want to make sure that if our staff test negative we get them back to work as soon as we can," Dr. Cohen said. "But if they test positive we want to keep them out of the workforce to make sure they're not going on to infect other staff or patients."

The clinic is currently limited to university healthcare workers who have COVID-19 symptoms, though the center plans to expand in-car testing to first responders. The university is also working to provide at-home testing kits for patients.

Lots of flu and a few COVID-19 cases have been detected at the drive-thru clinic so far.

Seventeen COVID-19 deaths and at least 83 infections have been reported in the Seattle area.

More articles on infection control:
Use of 2 central line catheters at once can up CLABSI risk, study shows
Here's how a Hong Kong hospital tested 1,275 for coronavirus, and no employees got sick
58 hospitals with the nation's best CAUTI rates 


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