UVM Medical Center begins drive-thru COVID-19 testing for physician referrals


ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. – The University of Vermont Medical Center has opened a drive-thru testing site for the novel coronavirus on the grounds of the Champlain Valley Exposition.

The location will be operated Monday-Friday and will test people who have been referred by a physician or urgent-care clinic. The hospital said the drive-thru will help relieve pressure on the hospital’s emergency room and urgent care teams, while making the process more efficient for patients.

The hospital emphasized that the testing is not on-demand, but by referral only. On Monday, the drive-thru’s first day of operation, clinical staff tested more than 20 people.

Critical care paramedic John Cullen explained what people should expect if they’re sent to the site for testing.

“When you come here, you’re going to be shown some signs that will say ‘roll up your window, turn the air on in your car,’ and then you’ll show us your ID through the window,” Cullen said. “We’re going to verify your identity and then you’ll move forward and get a nose swab similar to a flu swab and you’ll be on your way.”

The swabs are sent to the Vermont Department of Health Laboratory for testing and results will be available in 24-48 hours. Individuals will receive the results from their health care provider or referral source.

People who are concerned that they may be sick should call their physician or the Department of Health to discuss their symptoms.

The Vermont Department of Health said Monday that 421 people had been tested in Vermont. A dozen people, including four out-of-state residents, have tested positive.

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