Children only: Hospital opens country's first drive-thru coronavirus testing site for kids

Posted at 3:06 PM, Apr 08, 2020

In parking lots across the country, drive-up testing sites are sprouting up. However, one in Washington, D.C. is different.

“We are down the road, just under a mile from children's hospital,” said Julia Volcjak, a nurse at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.

The hospital recently opened a first in the country: a drive-up coronavirus testing site for children only .

“We have people who are directing traffic so that they can come up to one of the three stations, and we're verifying that they have their referral information, the name and the date of birth,” Volcjak said.

With a referral from a pediatrician, families can bring their children there to get tested for coronavirus. So far, they’ve seen more than 420 kids. At a time when drive-up testing sites around the country are overwhelmed with long lines, the hospital is placing a priority on children.

“It's important for them to get tested, because this is part of what we have been increasing, with the amount of testing that we can do in the nation,” she said.

Testing for COVID-19, or the scarcity of it, has been an ongoing challenge during the outbreak.

"I can report today that the United States has now tested and given results, gotten results of 1.67 million people,” President Donald Trump said on April 5. “That's far more than any country’s been able to do."

Still, the U.S. is hampered by not having enough tests for everyone showing symptoms.

The testing process itself can be a scary process for children. Healthcare providers recommend a few things families can do to make kids feel as comfortable as possible.

1) Use simple language when explaining how a Q-tip will be used to swab their nose.

2) Explain they will see medical personnel in masks and gowns and may not be able to see their faces.

3) Let them bring a favorite toy or stuffed animal with them.

4) Try and sit in the backseat with your child, where the test is conducted, to give them comfort.

When it’s all over, medical professionals said it’s important to still adhere to preventative steps at home.

“Really, kind of doing supportive measures at home and taking care of themselves and try to sort of suppress the spread,” Volcjak said.

All of this, as the coronavirus continues to spread across the country.