Naval Medical Center Portsmouth begins car triage screening for coronavirus

Posted at 6:17 AM, Mar 20, 2020

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Starting on Friday, active duty military and their families can get screened for coronavirus without ever having to leave their cars.

Naval Medical Center Portsmouth is starting a car triage screening process on March 20. It will run from 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily.

While typical emergency cases can go straight to the Emergency Room, according to a release from NMCP, patients looking to be evaluated for coronavirus will be taken to an outdoor area to be "checked in, triaged, evaluated and treated by a licensed provider all from the comfort and safety of their own vehicle."

Not everyone who is screened will be tested, however. A doctor will decide if the patient should be tested or sent home for self-observation.

Just as with civilian hospitals and medical providers, NMCP says patients must meet certain criteria to be screened: Experiencing symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, a history of travel and belief that they were exposed to COVID-19.

The hospital says the car triage is to avoid spreading coronavirus in the Emergency department, while also keeping foot traffic at a minimum.

It will also give high-risk patients a chance to get medical care without concern.

Patients who have questions can call the COVID-19 Call Center's screening advice line at 757-953-6200.

They can also call or text the Military Health System Nurse Advice Line at 1-800-874-2273.

Sentara also opened more testing locations Friday. Click here for a list of Sentara locations.