Latest Information on COVID-19 Precautions
The safety of our patients and staff has always been and remains our top priority.
As the world continues to navigate the challenges presented by COVID-19, we realize that some people may have questions about coming to the hospital even as they seek to address pressing health issues. Please note that we have implemented extraordinary measures and additional protocols to help ensure a safe and clean environment for our patients, physicians, staff and community. We are actively monitoring and responding to all recommendations made by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and our local Health Authority.
Thank you for entrusting your care to us. When you or your loved ones need services, know that we are here … safe, trusted and ready to deliver a superior healthcare experience.
Emergency Department – Do Not Delay in Seeking Critical Care
Our Emergency Department is staffed 24/7 to serve those with emergency medical conditions. Individuals experiencing serious injuries or medical symptoms such as chest pain, numbness, difficulty breathing or mental confusion should call 9-1-1 or go to the nearest emergency department. It could save your life.
We have rigorous measures in place to ensure your safety in our emergency department and during a hospital stay, including assessing patients for COVID-19 symptoms upon arrival to the emergency room and isolating to maintain separate areas for patients with COVID-19 symptoms.
Individuals Experiencing COVID-19 Symptoms
If you develop a fever or cough or have difficulty breathing, or have had close contact with someone who has had a confirmed positive COVID-19 test result, please seek medical attention by calling your provider’s office or an Urgent Care Center. If you do not have a primary care physician, you can call 888-4GW-DOCS for a referral to a doctor who can schedule a phone or video appointment with you.
If you need help deciding if you should seek medical care, access the CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker on the CDC COVID-19 Symptoms page by clicking on the Coronavirus Self-Checker button at the top of the page.
COVID-19 Testing Options
GW is now offering an appointment-only COVID-19 testing site for adults with a physician/healthcare provider referral. The testing site is at 22nd and I St NW. Appointments are Monday through Friday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. You must have a physician/healthcare provider referral to make an appointment. Testing is by appointment only.
Walk-in visits are available at GW Immediate and Primary Care sites.
If you need emergency medical care, call 9-1-1 or come to the hospital. Emergency warning signs for COVID-19 include trouble breathing, persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, inability to wake or stay awake, and/or bluish lips and face.
COVID-19 Test Results
We will call you to notify you of your test results the day we receive them, whether negative or positive. If you are looking to inquire about the results, call 202-715-4401. If you have questions about your ongoing symptoms, contact your physician office.
Steps We Have Taken to Keep You Safe
With certain specific exceptions, we have restricted visitation within GW Hospital. All routine visits have been suspended until the transmission of COVID-19 is no longer a threat to our patients, staff and community. Likewise, GW Hospital has restricted all vendor access to essential services only. All visitors entering GW Hospital are required to wear a face mask and practice hand hygiene, and are screened for any COVID-19 symptoms, which includes temperature checks. Any visitors or vendors with COVID-19 symptoms are instructed to not enter our facilities.
Please see the Limited Visitation section below for more information.
Masking of GW Hospital Staff, Patients and Visitors
All staff, patients and visitors in all our clinical facilities must wear a mask to protect against COVID-19 transmission. For patients and visitors, these can be cloth face covers or personal masks. We will provide masks to patients and visitors who arrive without their own masks.
Please watch this video on how wearing a facemask helps prevent the spread of COVID-19:
Physical Distancing of Patients
We are reconfiguring all our areas, including our clinical areas and waiting rooms, to optimize and maintain physical distancing precautions. In addition, we are restricting the number of people on an elevator to ensure maximum distancing.
Mandatory Screening of GW Hospital Staff
All GW Hospital employees are screened for COVID-19 and temperature checked as they enter the hospital to indicate that they do not have a fever or symptoms of any respiratory illness. Those employees who have symptoms of a respiratory illness are required to stay home until they have recovered completely. All employees also have quick access to COVID-19 testing if they show symptoms of the virus.
Mandatory Screening of Patients and Visitors
All GW Hospital patients and visitors are screened for COVID-19 and temperature checked as they enter the hospital and clinics.
Proactive Testing Prior to Surgery
All GW Hospital patients are tested for COVID-19 prior to having a surgical procedure. If a patient tests positive for COVID-19 and if surgery can be safely delayed, it will be postponed until the patient has fully recovered. If the surgery cannot be safely delayed, the procedure will be done in a COVID-19 contained area of the hospital.
Proactive Testing of Hospitalized Patients
All patients admitted to GW hospital are tested for COVID-19, regardless of whether or not they have symptoms associated with a respiratory illness.
For those suspected or confirmed COVID-19 cases, we have assigned highly specialized teams in dedicated areas of our hospital to care for these patients. We have implemented strict isolation practices to separate COVID-19 patients from other patients.
COVID-Clear Surgical Center
At our GW Hospital ambulatory surgery center, we are only providing surgical and procedural cases for patients who have tested negative for COVID-19.
Cleanliness and Environment of Care
GW Hospital utilizes robust infection prevention standards to keep all hospitalized patients safe. To enhance our already stringent efforts, we have increased our cleaning frequency of high-traffic areas and public spaces.
Creating a safe environment for our patients begins with hand hygiene. Our standard infection prevention practices require all individuals to wash their hands with soap and water or use an alcohol-based sanitizer when entering and exiting a patient room. We are now requiring the use of hand sanitizer for all who enter the facility and continue to have hand sanitizer available throughout the facility.
Personal Protective Equipment
Throughout this time, GW Hospital has continued to have an adequate supply of PPE. The appropriate PPE remains available for all who need it and in all instances in which it is CDC recommended.
Hospital Services and Programs
The hospital is fully operational. We are monitoring for symptoms in patients and implementing isolation protocols, if needed.
Most community health education programs offered by the hospital in the near term have been canceled or postponed; please follow the hospital on Facebook for updates, or check the GW Hospital event calendar.
Babies don't wait! Pregnancy and delivery is a vital time for moms and infants. Our compassionate, skilled Women’s Services team continues to provide prenatal visits and labor and delivery care. Please call 888-4GW-DOCS to schedule an appointment.
Procedures and Surgeries
As part of the Reopen DC plan, we will continue with our strict and robust safety precautions and resume medically necessary surgeries and procedures starting Friday, May 29, 2020. Your physician and our team will coordinate with you to reschedule or schedule your procedure accordingly. If you have questions, please call your doctor’s office.
To help prevent the spread of COVID-19, we have implemented new pre-operative protocols. Please watch this video for full details:
When it comes to your health, seeking safe essential care cannot be delayed. Fortunately, with Virtual Health services available through the GW Medical enterprise, access to such care has never been easier. Virtual Health enables you to speak with providers in various departments, all from the comfort of your own home or wherever you may be, using your phone, tablet or computer.
LIMITED VISITATION – Be an Advocate for Your Loved One’s Care
Travel-Related Visitor Restrictions
Mayor Muriel Bowser has issued an order requiring individuals to self-quarantine when arriving to DC after non-essential travel to one of the “high risk” states in the nation. This order is based on data from the City that shows that the majority of spread within our region is due to individuals traveling to high-risk areas and bringing the virus back with them to our region.
The list of current “high risk” states is here and is in effect until August 10. This list will change every two weeks, with the new list release on Mondays. The order does not apply to Maryland or Virginia.
Visitors who have traveled to a currently listed “high risk” state within the past 14 days will not be permitted to enter the Hospital or any of the off-site campus locations. Exceptions to these latest guidelines can be made in special circumstances, and by the Incident Command, including:
- End of Life Care (including COVID-19 positive)
- Developmentally delayed patients
- Dementia patients
- The guardian of a pediatric/neonatal patient
- Labor and delivery – two visitors. Visitor must remain in the hospital for duration of stay.
If visitors have not traveled to these areas within the past 14 days, our current visitation policy below applies.
Current Visitor Guidelines
Given the current status of COVID-19 in the region, the following visitor restrictions are in effect until further notice:
- No visitors are allowed for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 except in end-of-life or support situations.
- Visitors are required to be screened upon entering the facility and to follow precautionary guidelines such as wearing a mask, physical distancing and proper hand hygiene. Visitors displaying symptoms will not be permitted. In addition, visitors under 18 years old are not permitted.
- As we work to maintain the highest level of safety, the cafeteria and Starbucks® will remain closed to the general public at this time. Only visitors of patients will be permitted to use the cafeteria and Starbucks. Although discouraged, visitors will be allowed to leave the facility and return during the same visit.
- Med-Surg and ICU: One visitor per patient per day. Permitted visitation hours: 10 am – 7 pm, seven days per week.
- NICU: Parents/guardians only. One at the bedside at a time. Preference of same person per day to enhance newborn safety. Permitted visitation hours: 24 hours, seven days per week.
- Labor and Delivery: Two support people per day. Both individuals can be present at the bedside at the same time and are encouraged to remain in the facility during the duration of labor. Permitted visitation hours: 24 hours, seven days per week.
- Antepartum and Mother/Baby: One visitor per patient per day. One designated support person for the duration of the stay. Permitted visitation hours: 24 hours, seven days per week.
- Pediatrics: Parents/guardians only. Permitted visitation hours: 24 hours, seven days per week.
- ED: One visitor per patient allowed in the waiting room. Permitted visitation hours: 24 hours, seven days per week.
- Outpatient Clinics: One visitor per patient allowed in the waiting room. Permitted visitation hours: based on individual clinic hours.
- Surgical/Procedural Patients: One visitor per patient on day of procedure. Permitted visitation hours: 24 hours, seven days per week.
Thank you for your understanding as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19 and enhance safety.
The CDC recommends individuals and families follow everyday preventive measures.
- Social distancing – avoiding crowds and crowded spaces, avoiding handshaking and hugging, deliberately staying at least six feet away from other people, and replacing in-person visits with remote check-ins using technology.
- Cover coughs and sneezes with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue.
- Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds; especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.
- If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with 60–95% alcohol.
- Routinely clean frequently touched surfaces and objects.
- Stay home when you are sick with respiratory disease symptoms.
Watch this video as Dr. Keith Melancon, Director of the Transplant Institute and the Ron and Joy Paul Kidney Center at GW Hospital, provides tips for how to protect yourself and your family from the coronavirus.
How to Make a Financial Donation
Thank you for your generosity in helping us provide care for the community during this pandemic. If you would like to donate funds toward GW Hospital’s COVID-19 Response, you can do so through our philanthropic entity, The GW Hospital Women’s Board, Inc. The Women's Board can provide a tax receipt of your donation upon request. Thank you for your support in caring for the region during this time!
Medical Supplies and Other Donations
We thank our local community for your generosity and your time. If you are interested in providing items (donated or hand-made) to our facility, kindly follow the user-friendly instructions here. To make a donation, call 202-715-4559 or email COVIDdonations@gwu-hospital.com.
- Face Mask Instructions Video (11 min): Watch video instructions →
- Face Mask Instructions: Download PDF instructions →
- How to make a hand-sewn gown: Download PDF instructions →
- How to make a face shield: Download PDF instructions →
Recovering From COVID-19 at Home
Use these nutrition and hydration tips to help you or a loved one recover at home from COVID-19.*
- 88 percent of patients infected with COVID-19 can manage their symptoms at home.
- Symptoms include: fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue and loss of appetite.
Stay Hydrated and Eat Well!
- Remember, if you have a fever, you need more fluids and calories than normal.
- You may not feel hungry, but it is important to continue to eat so you don’t lose your muscles.
- Even if you don’t feel thirsty, remember to drink fluids so that you don’t get dehydrated.
Nutritional Needs With COVID-19
- Fluid: Drink 2-4 ounces of fluid every 15 minutes. Try sport drinks, juice, protein shakes, water or ginger ale.
- Protein: Focus on intake of protein-rich foods such as peanut or other nut butters, milk, eggs, cheese, yogurt, chicken, fish, turkey, or protein shakes.
- Calories: Do not restrict calories at this time. No dieting! Increase intake of “good” fats such as those found in olive oil and avocados, and oils found in fish.
What if You Really Don’t Want to Eat?
- Try store-bought protein shakes (such as Ensure, Boost or Premiere Protein) or make a homemade smoothie with protein powder, milk and fruit. Liquid calories are easier to consume and are digested faster so you won’t feel full for too long.
- Try to eat small meals more often (i.e., six snacks per day).
*Modified from the American Society for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition
Podcast: GW Hospital Uses Virtual Reality to Combat COVID-19
GW Hospital received its first COVID-19-positive patient on March 18. In this podcast, Dr. Keith Mortman, Director of Thoracic Surgery at GW Hospital, shares what he saw upon first confronting the COVID-19 virus and gives an inside glimpse of a COVID-19 damaged lung, which we can see with advanced virtual reality imaging.
Video: Using ECMO to Treat COVID-19 Patients
Dr. Farzad Najam, Chief of Cardiac Surgery, and Dr. Elizabeth Pocock, Cardiac Surgeon, discuss Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO) technology and its use for treating critically ill COVID-19 patients at GW Hospital.
- Protect Yourself and Your Family:
World Health Organization →
- What You Need to Know:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) →
- Check Your Symptoms:
CDC Coronavirus Self-Checker →
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