Virginia Hospital Center Bracing for COVID-19
We asked hospital officials for an update on safety and preparedness efforts in Arlington. Here's their response.
How is Virginia Hospital Center preparing for an influx of COVID-positive patients? How many patients can you treat at a given point in time?
It is important to remember that the vast majority of patients who receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis will not require hospitalization. Similar to other viruses, most individuals will need to follow the recommendations of their physician, remain at home and self-quarantine, rest, drink plenty of fluids, and consult with their primary care physician if their condition worsens. Hospitalization will only be necessary for those with severe, life-threatening symptoms. Virginia Hospital Center is prepared to meet the needs of those patients.
What actions are you taking to protect patients who visit the hospital—especially the emergency department—for reasons unrelated to coronavirus?
To protect our patients and staff, VHC has made a number of updates to our visitation policy to help limit the possibility of exposure. As of March 17 at 8 p.m., no visitors, with a few exceptions, will be allowed in the Hospital. We recognize there are times when a visitor or family member is critical and as a result the following exceptions apply:
- Obstetric patients may have one partner and one midwife/doula support person.
- End-of-life situations (to be determined on a case-by-case basis).
- Pediatric patients may have 2 parents/guardians.
- Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) patients may have 2 parents/guardians.
- Patients who have altered mental status or developmental delays, where a caregiver provides safety, may have 1 visitor.
- Patients visiting the Emergency Department (ED) may have 1 person.
- Outpatients may have 1 person to assist post-procedure with safe transition to home.
To support these new safety measures, all patients and support persons will be screened at the following entrances prior to entering the Hospital:
- Emergency Department entrance (Open 24/7; Zone A)
- Main Hospital Lobby entrance (Open 6:00 am to 9:00 pm; Zone A)
- Women & Infant Health Lobby entrance (Open 24/7; Zone C)
- Oncology Services entrance (Open 6:00 am to 9:00 pm; Zone C)
In addition to these efforts, Virginia Hospital Center has partnered with Arlington County to open a drive-through COVID-19 Sample Collection site at 1429 N. Quincy Street. This site helps to reduce potential exposure in our Emergency Department (ED) and alleviates added stress on our ED staff so that they are able to see and treat those with potentially life-threatening conditions who require immediate medical attention.
Can anyone seeking testing use the drive-through site?
The site on Quincy Street is not a testing site, it is a sample collection site. We collect samples from patients and send them to accredited labs elsewhere in the state for testing.
Samples will be collected from individuals over the age of 18 who are Arlington residents, Arlington County Government employees or Arlington Public Schools employees, or patients of VHC Medical Staff.
This site is for sample collection from symptomatic patients (fevers, chills, cough, or shortness of breath) who have received a written order for COVID-19 testing from a licensed healthcare provider. This is not meant for asymptomatic patients, even those who have had a close contact with a known COVID patient.
Physicians with symptomatic patients can send orders to the Virginia Hospital Center outpatient lab electronically in EPIC or via fax to 703-558-2448.
Once they have received a physician’s order, patients should call the VHC COVID-19 Scheduling Line at 703-558-5766 between the hours of 8:30 am and 3:00 pm. Patients must schedule an appointment before visiting the collection site.
Individuals arriving at the drive-through site will be asked to remain in their cars.
How long does it take for COVID-19 test results to come back?
We currently expect patients to receive their results in 5 to 7 days.