Inside UVM Medical Center’s drive-thru coronavirus test site

Coronavirus

ESSEX JUNCTION, Vt. – As confirmed cases of COVID-19 rise in Vermont, UVM Medical Center’s drive-thru testing site at the Champlain Valley Exposition is adapting to an ever-increasing demand.

On Wednesday, roughly 70 people were tested. In comparison, the site saw about 20 visitors when it opened on Monday. In order to be tested, you must have a referral from your physician or the Vermont Department of Health.

Michaela McDonough, an emergency department nurse, has been working at the site all week.

“We’ve been really flexible with how many people have been coming in, and everyone’s been very supportive in the testing process,” McDonough said. “People are very patient, so we’re thankful for that.”

UVM Medical Center gave a brief demonstration of how the testing process works – patients line up inside their vehicles, show their referral, give their phone number and show their ID, all while their windows are rolled up. They then continue through to a white tent where a healthcare worker in full protective equipment swabs their nose.

The site was opened in order to prevent possible COVID-19 patients from spreading the virus at the emergency department or urgent care facilities. Early on, it appears the site is doing its job.

“I was at urgent care earlier and they told us that it was definitely helping with their load so that they can take care of other people not dealing with COVID-19 and do their job, and we can take that testing process out of their hands,” McDonough said.

Employees directly involved in the testing process wear full personal protective equipment – a facemask, gown and gloves. They remove them after every person they test.

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