A drive-thru COVID-19 employee health testing site for UW Medicine opened on March 6, at the University of Washington Medical Center – Northwest in north Seattle. Testing is provided to UW Medicine staff, faculty, and trainees who have symptoms or an upper respiratory infection—fever, a new cough, and shortness of breath.
After driving up to the testing center, which is run out of tents in an open-air parking garage, the employee stays in the car. A nurse, trained in infection control protocols and in using protective equipment, greets the employee and conducts the test. Employees receive guidance on next steps, and receive results within 24 to 48 hours.
To date, more than 175 staff, faculty, and trainees have asked about testing. Ninety-four have been tested for both the flu and COVID-19 as of March 8, according to Dr. Seth Cohen, medical director of infection prevention and employee health at UWMC-Northwest. So far, none of those tested at the drive-thru site have tested positive for the COVID-19 virus.
If anyone tests positive, that employee would be notified immediately by the employee health staff and given additional instructions on how to proceed. This usually includes home isolation unless the symptoms are worsening and the employee requires additional medical evaluation.
There are other COVID-19 test sites for UW Medicine employees, including one at UW Medicine’s Harborview Medical Center in downtown Seattle.