GW Hospital Starts Drive-Through, Walk-In Testing

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The drive-in tent for coronavirus testing near George Washington University Hospital. Georgetowner photo.

Starting today, Monday, April 6, Georgetowners who need to be tested for COVID-19 can go either to a drive-through or a walk-in testing site at George Washington University Hospital. A referral from a physician or a health care provider and a scheduled appointment are required, according to a hospital announcement.

The drive-through testing site is located at 20th and H Streets NW; cars enter at 22nd and H. A walk-in testing tent has been set up at 22nd and I Streets NW. Appointments are being scheduled Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Per the hospital: “If you are experiencing fever, cough, shortness of breath or other flu-like symptoms, in order to obtain an order for testing you must contact your regular health care provider to discuss the symptoms and receive an assessment.”

An evaluation consultation with a GW Hospital physician, by video or telephone, can be arranged by calling 202-741-2765, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. If the evaluation and order is to be placed by a non-GW health care provider, an online form, available at gwdocs.com/covid19testreferral, must be completed.

Once the provider’s request has been received and processed by GW Hospital, testing appointments can be scheduled by calling 202-741-3595, Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. The hospital has the following instructions for those seeking tests: “Allow at least one hour for scheduling. Do not travel to the testing site until you have been given an appointment.”

On the day of the appointment, the person to be tested must arrive during the 60-minute window provided and bring a personal identification card such as a driver’s license or a passport. Other instructions: “If you are driving, keep your window rolled up and follow the instructions of staff when you pull into the testing lane. Walk-in appointments must approach the registration desk at the appointed time outside the building for instructions.”

In most cases, test results are currently taking approximately five to seven days. The results are sent to the health care provider who ordered the tests.

Those needing emergency care are advised to go to the closest emergency department.

The District is expecting a surge in cases over the next week or two, before the number of infections is likely to peak. As of April 6, 1,097 D.C. residents have tested positive and 24 have died — a two-percent case mortality rate, substantially below the overall U.S. rate of almost five percent.

City officials have stated repeatedly that staying at home, keeping strict social distancing and getting tested if one has symptoms are the key ways to keep the number of cases and deaths low. Symptoms that indicate testing is needed include persistent high fever, coughing and — especially — having trouble breathing. Those having had known contact with or close exposure to someone who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 should also be tested.

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