COVID-19 Vaccine Update
The George Washington University Hospital (GW Hospital) is currently following vaccine distribution guidelines from the District of Columbia and DC Health. In accordance with these guidelines, GW Medical Faculty Associates (MFA) and GW Hospital are offering COVID-19 vaccinations to our eligible patients, which include those who are either:
- District of Columbia residents age 65 and older
- District of Columbia residents age 16-64 with underlying medical conditions
If you are eligible, we will contact you when appointments are available.
We know that many people are eager to be vaccinated, and we are working to provide vaccinations as quickly as possible. As more vaccine doses become available, we will continue to offer vaccines to individuals who are eligible based on the guidance of DC Health.
Information on vaccine distribution will be available on this website. We will contact you when you are eligible. Please do not call your provider’s office to inquire about your vaccination status so that we allow our department phone lines to remain open to all patients’ care needs.
Thank you for your patience and flexibility as we work through this new vaccination process.
District of Columbia Is in Phase 1C Vaccine Distribution
The District of Columbia is in Phase 1C of vaccine distribution. You can find more information on the DC Government’s website about their vaccination guidelines and distribution plan:
Latest Information on COVID-19 Precautions
GW Hospital Hosts National Ceremonial COVID-19 Vaccination Kick Off Event
On Monday, December 14, 2020, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar and U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams held a press conference alongside faculty and administrators at The George Washington University Hospital and the GW Medical Faculty Associates as part of the National Ceremonial COVID-19 Vaccination Kick Off Event. Washington, DC Mayor Muriel Bowser also spoke at the event. Following the press conference, Secretary Azar and Surgeon General Adams observed the administration of some of the nation’s first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine to frontline healthcare workers at GW. You can watch a video of the event below:
Safe. Trusted. Ready.
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 Survivor Reunites with His Care Team at GW Hospital
At just 29 years old, Francis Wilson never thought he would be fighting for his life. In this interview, he's reunited with the team that helped him beat COVID-19.
COVID-19 Testing Options
GW is now offering a COVID-19 testing site for adults.
Location: Shenkman Hall, 600 23rd St. NW
Washington, DC 20052
The entrance is on the corner of 23rd and G Streets.
Days and Time: Monday through Friday, 8:30 am to 3:30 pm.
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
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
Visitor Restrictions (Effective 2/11/21 Until Further Notice)
Due to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, visitors are not permitted at GW Hospital, but exceptions to this restriction can be made in the following special circumstances by contacting the Incident Commander:
- End of Life Care
- Developmentally delayed patients
- Dementia patients
- NICU: Two individuals can be designated per infant. Only one person is permitted, per day, per infant. This individual cannot leave and return during that day.
- Labor and Delivery: Two support people are permitted 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.
To seek approval, call 202-715-4195. Requests should only align with the exceptions noted above.
For all approved exceptions, individuals are subject to screening and will be prohibited if they are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 or have been in contact with someone with fever, cough or influenza-like symptoms within the last 48 hours or a known or suspected COVID-19 patient. All visitors must wear a face mask and practice hand hygiene. If a visitor attempting to enter is experiencing symptoms, they will be directed to our testing location.
We recognize this is a stressful time and that it is difficult to be separated from loved ones while in the hospital. We sincerely thank you for your understanding.
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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