MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – WVU Medicine announced today that it is establishing five drive-through collection points in West Virginia to collect specimens from pre-screened patients to test for COVID-19. The collection points will be in Morgantown, Parkersburg, Bridgeport, Wheeling, and Martinsburg. Although there are still no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in West Virginia, transmission of the coronavirus is increasing nationwide, and other health systems have successfully used the drive-through approach.
The testing itself will be supported by both Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp, which will process the specimens that WVU Medicine collects from patients. The collection points will operate seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. starting tomorrow, March 18. Patients will typically learn test results in three-to-four days, although time will likely vary based on the volume of tests these two companies will be performing.
Tests will be reserved for people who meet screening criteria based on CDC recommendations and are sick with symptoms that are consistent with COVID-19: fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Asymptomatic patients – or those people who have no obvious COVID-19 symptoms – will not be tested. This will ensure only the highest-risk patients are identified and receive the appropriate medical intervention. The screening will not test for seasonal flu, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), or any other respiratory illness.
Patients who meet criteria for testing will be directed to one of the five drive-through collection points. WVU Medicine staff will collect the specimens, using appropriate precautions, and send them to Quest Diagnostics or LabCorp for analysis. This process reduces the need for other critically constrained resources.
“We are happy to roll these collection sites out to our state and provide this critical service to our citizens,” Judie Charlton, M.D., WVU Medicine’s chief medical officer, said. “We only ask that people who are truly sick and who have symptoms consistent with COVID-19 request testing, which they can through their primary care doctor or by calling the WVU Medicine COVID-19 triage line at 304-598-6000, option 4.”
WVU Medicine will collect the specimen only if the patient has a valid Epic order from a referring physician.
“Our process of requiring an Epic order expedites our ability to communicate results back to patients and ensure that appropriate measures have been taken in ordering the test, reporting to government agencies, and providing follow-through care when warranted,” said Dr. Charlton. “Patients whose care is through a provider without Epic access can be accommodated by the treating physician referring the patient to our Covid-19 triage number.”
For more information on COVID-19, visit WVUMedicine.org/covid.