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Covid-19 (Coronavirus): For information related to COVID-19, visit vcuhealth.org/covid-19. For information specific to children and families, visit Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU.

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VCU Health coronavirus testing expands across the region

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Since VCU Health first announced its in-house coronavirus testing in March, our lab has been processing approximately 400 tests per day to determine if people have COVID-19. From March 23 to July 14, 2020, VCU Medical Center processed over 25,000 tests. In under four months, the lab ran more than twice as many COVID-19 tests as it did influenza tests in all of 2019 (10,000). Despite the rising COVID-19 cases across the country and surge in test demand, the VCU Health lab maintains a less-than-24-hour turnaround time for results.

Thanks to exceptional collaboration, high-powered equipment and a dedicated lab team, VCU Health quickly expanded its testing capabilities from administering in-house tests for hospitalized patients to become a diagnostic and antibody testing resource for vulnerable populations throughout the state.

Widespread testing for COVID-19 is a critical tool in controlling the spread of the coronavirus. Testing provides doctors the information they need to administer the right treatments and track down those who may have come in contact with infected individuals. Public health experts use the testing data to get a clear picture of how far the virus has spread. This helps government officials determine whether it’s safe to reopen schools, workplaces and recreation areas.

Who are we testing?

  • VCU Health patients who are hospitalized and patients coming in for certain surgeries, tests and procedures. We are testing all admitted patients for COVID-19, as well as all adult and select pediatric patients — with or without COVID-19 symptoms — prior to scheduled surgeries and some procedures and tests. We have set up drive-thru and walk-in testing sites across the region. 
     
  • Patients who need test results immediately. VCU Health has the ability to deploy a rapid test for those needing urgent care. The test is as effective and accurate as a normal COVID-19 test but has a turn-around time of only 30-45 minutes. Since supplies are limited for this test, they are used in select settings that require immediate results.
     
  • Community members living in more crowded conditions. To support the health of the public beyond our walls, we have been working closely with the Virginia Department of Health (VDH) to process tests for nursing homes, assisted living facilities and long-term care facilities in the region. Given the communal nature of these settings, COVID-19 testing for residents and staff is crucial to keep everyone safe where they live. VCU Health also provides testing resources to the Virginia Department of Corrections to process tests for inmates and staff who similarly live or work closely with others.

    Our lab experts use test results from nursing homes and jails around the state to run studies for the VDH to understand how many people have the virus at any given time — information that’s critical to control outbreaks.
     
  • Veterans. VCU Health is providing and processing tests for patients and staff at the Central Virginia VA Health Care System in Richmond.
     
  • VCU Health employees. We test every employee who has COVID-19 symptoms or who may have been in contact with someone with COVID-19. In addition to helping us properly care for the team member, this helps us maintain a safe environment for our patients, visitors and staff in our hospitals and clinics.
     
  • People who have previously had COVID-19. Our Laboratory Services team is processing COVID-19 antibody tests, which determine whether an individual has ever had COVID-19. VCU Health is one of five sites across Virginia collecting antibody test results as part of a statewide initiative to estimate how many people have been infected with the virus.

This is just the beginning. We will continue to expand our testing capabilities to support people, communities, institutions and groups in need.  Learn more about our efforts to develop COVID-19 cures and vaccines on our research page.