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Inova Providing Drive-By COVID-19 Testing in Alexandria as Hospital is Filling Up

Vehicle-side COVID-19 testing is available at Inova Primary Care – Old Town by appointment only, and the Alexandria Hospital is preparing for a surge of COVID-19 patients.

The clinic at 325 S. Washington Street is operating as a respiratory illness clinic from 1 and 4:30 p.m. during the week by appointment only, and vehicle-side testing appointments are scheduled between 2 and 4 p.m.

Alexandria Hospital is treating 60 COVID-19-related patients, and the hospital is filling up, although there is still capacity, Inova Alexandria Hospital President and CEO Dr. Rina Basal told ALXnow. There are about 300 COVID-19 positive patients across Inova’s five-hospital system, which has facilitated more than 7,000 tests across Northern Virginia, she said.

There are currently 462 probable or positive COVID-19 cases in the city, and there have been 11 deaths. That means that most of the cases in Alexandria are not in the hospital.

“A lot of these patients aren’t even coming to the hospital,” Bansal said. “They could be going to their physician, to one of the clinics, and most people don’t need to be admitted to the hospital.”

Still, Bansal said that the hospital’s intensive care units have been running “pretty full” and that she and her staff have seen a steady and significant increase in the number of cases being treated.

Bansal said that in the beginning of the pandemic she had trouble comprehending the emotional impact that it was having on society.

“I think this is the first time, where we’ve had, you know so many people passing away alone, to not have their families at their bedside. And so, not only being the providers who are caring for the patient, but also holding their hand, as they’re passing away — just the sadness of that, I don’t think it’s something that I’ve ever imagined before,” she said.

Bansal added, “We’re controlling the number of visitors to keep everyone safe while allowing for that compassionate last minute. It’s tough. These are not decisions that we’ve ever had to make before.”

The hospital system also recently announced that due to the pandemic it was laying off more than 400 non-clinical staff. Bansal said that the layoffs will not affect Alexandria Hospital’s ability to take care of patients.

“The goal was for it to not impact any clinical care at the bedside,” she said.

The hospital is managing its supply of personal protective equipment and is continuing to ask for food donations for clinical workers and staff.

We recently received a transformative donation of 50,000 face masks from Mr. Liqing Zeng (Jason), the Co-founder of…

Posted by Inova Alexandria Hospital on Monday, April 13, 2020

Staff photo by James Cullum

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