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Over the weekend, the pace of our COVID-19 response at UW Medicine continued to quicken. Our colleagues around the country are looking to us for guidance and best practices.

This update covers the following topics:

  • Employee Screening at UW Medical Center – Northwest
  • Revised SARS-CoV-2 Testing Criteria
  • Patient Screening at UW Neighborhood Clinics
  • Interfacility Transfers of Patients with COVID-19
  • Situation Report: Local, National and Global COVID-19 Cases

UW Medicine Employee Screening at UW Medical Center – Northwest:  The UW Medicine Employee COVID-19 testing center opened on Friday, March 6. To date, over 175 staff, faculty and trainees have requested testing and as of end-of-day Sunday, March 8, 94 have been tested for both flu and COVID-19.

Once at the testing center, employees stay in their cars and testing is completed by a nurse in a “drive through” process. Employees then receive their results and guidance on next steps within 24-48 hours. Employees who test positive for COVID-19 are notified immediately by our staff and given additional instructions on how to proceed, usually including home isolation unless their symptoms are worsening, and they require additional medical evaluation. For more information, please refer to our “FAQ for Staff with Respiratory Infections” and “Scenario-based Assessment and Triage of Staff Exposed to SARS-CoV-2” posted on our UW Medicine COVID19 Website. Most employees are testing negative for COVID-19, and we are still seeing a fair amount of influenza in our clinic.

Employee Screening at UW Medical Center -- Northwest

The COVID-19 screening center for UW Medicine employees is fully operational at UW Medical Center — Northwest

The testing center is currently open seven days a week by appointment only. We will continue to expand our capacity at this location, and we will be standing up additional locations in the city to improve access to our staff.

Reminder: Employees who have symptoms consistent with an acute respiratory infection (such as fever, new cough, and/or new shortness of breath) and want to be screened or tested, must fill out a brief survey and submit it to the screening team. You will be contacted by Employee Health with instructions on how to proceed for testing if clinically indicated. You cannot be screened and tested without first completing this process.

Revised SARS-CoV-2 Testing Criteria: We have revised our UW Medicine SARS-CoV-2 Testing Criteria to reflect our expanding testing capabilities for patients. Key changes include:

  • For patients with mild-moderate symptoms of acute respiratory infection who do not require hospitalization and do not have any other known risk factors (listed under Special Populations), the recommendation to test is based on the provider’s clinical judgement.
  • Older adults (age ≥ 65 years) are now listed under Special Populations.
  • Examples of congregant facilities now include dorms, fraternities and sororities.
  • Added a recommendation to strongly consider testing for influenza/RSV when testing for COVID-19, as other respiratory viruses are currently circulating, and co-infections can occur.

Please review the UW Medicine SARS-CoV-2 Testing Criteria our UW Medicine COVID19 Website.

Patient Screening at UW Neighborhood Clinics: UW Medicine Neighborhood Clinics have expanded their capability for administering tests to screen for COVID-19. Patients with symptoms consistent with acute respiratory infection can now be tested at the primary care and urgent care clinics. We continue to advise patients to contact the clinic first to discuss their symptoms before arriving to help prevent the spread of disease.

Interfacility Transfers of Patients with COVID-19: UW Medicine has implemented a policy regarding the transfer of patients with COVID-19 from other facilities if those facilities are capable of delivering care to this group of patients. See Interfacility Transfers policy statement on our UW Medicine COVID19 Website.

Situation Report: Public Health – Seattle & King County reports 33 new cases of COVID-19 as of March 9, 2020, which brings the total number of reported King County cases to 116, including 20 deaths.

The CDC reports 423 cases of confirmed or presumed COVID-19 cases in the United States in 35 states (including the District of Columbia). Travel health notices have been issues for the following countries and territories: China, South Korea, Iran, Italy, Japan and Hong Kong. For the most current COVID-19 country list, please refer to our Current Outbreak List on our UW Medicine COVID19 Website.

The World Health Organization reports a total of 109,578 confirmed cases globally as of March 9, 2020. In China, 80,904 confirmed cases and 3,123 deaths have been reported.