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Sentara Healthcare closes COVID-19 drive-thru screening sites, works to launch in-house testing

Sentara said delays in getting coronavirus test results from commercial labs was the main reason. It was working to set up testing at Sentara Norfolk Hospital.

NORFOLK, Va. — Sentara Healthcare said Tuesday that it was closing its COVID-19 drive-thru screening and testing sites until further notice.

Sentara said it made the decision based largely on the delays it was experiencing in getting test results back from commercial laboratories. The labs have been inundated with coronavirus tests and the estimated turnaround time grew to 10 days or more because of the high volumes. That, in turn, meant Sentara was delayed in its ability to share test results with patients.

The health care system said it was working to launch its own in-house testing that would serve people in Hampton Roads. That testing would be located at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Sentara said Tuesday it hoped to have it up and running within the week.

It added that anyone who thought they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and had two of the following symptoms should stay home and follow social distancing guidelines:

  • Fever (100.4 or higher)
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath

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In addition, Sentara said those people should follow the CDC's recommended prevention methods and monitor themselves for a change in symptoms.

If you are an older adult OR have an underlying health condition, Sentara provided the guidance below and offered to direct people to the nearest testing location:

If you need immediate medical attention, call your nearest emergency department. You'll find a list of Sentara emergency departments here.

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