(WB) Whitman-Walker Health, D.C.’s community health center with a special outreach to LGBT people and people with HIV, announced on Monday that it has begun operating an in-house respiratory clinic to test and treat its patients for coronavirus at two of its offices.
The newly launched respiratory clinics are located at Whitman-Walker’s headquarters building at 1525 14th St., N.W., and at its Max Robinson Center at 2301 Martin Luther King, Jr., Ave., S.E., in Anacostia, Whitman-Walker states on its website.
Spokesperson Jewel Addy said that due to the health emergency related to the coronavirus outbreak, Whitman-Walker, like other local health facilities, is arranging for most of its patient visits to take place remotely through a “telehealth” system it has put in place that involves consultations by phone and online communication.
“We have moved all scheduled appointments to telehealth from March 23 through May 29,” Addy told the Washington Blade. “We are not accepting new patients at this time,” she said
“We are running a respiratory clinic for any current Whitman-Walker patients who are experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19,” she said, adding, “All respiratory clinic visits are appointment only. Our health centers are closed for any walk-in services.”
The two respiratory clinics will be among only a few of its patient services that will involve in-person visits for the time being, Addy said.
Whitman-Walker spokesperson Abby Fenton said Whitman-Walker will not disclose at this time whether any of its patients have tested positive for coronavirus.
“We have not yet been given authority to share any COVID-19 case related information with the media,” Fenton said.
She noted that Whitman-Walker is aware that COVID-19 is a reportable disease and it will report “any and all cases of COVID we diagnose” to the D.C. Department of Health, which is keeping track of the coronavirus outbreak in the city.
Also similar to other organizations, businesses, and government offices in the D.C. metro area, Addy said most of Whitman-Walker’s employees that do not see patients are currently working remotely rather than coming to the office.
As of 7 p.m. on Monday, the office of Mayor Muriel Bowser reported 21 new positive cases of coronavirus in D.C. over the past weekend, bringing the city’s overall positive case total to 137.
Also as of earlier in the day on Monday, the total reported cases in Maryland reached 289 and the Virginia total was 254.
The first known case of an LGBTQ person testing positive for coronavirus in either D.C. Maryland, or Virginia surfaced on Friday in Richmond, when the local TV station ABC 8 News reported a gay male couple disclosed they placed themselves in isolation at home after learning they tested positive.
“It’s been a very surreal experience and to be one of the first to have it locally,” Joseph Papa told ABC 8 News.
Papa told the television station he and his husband, JS Fauquest, who are in their 30s, came down with coronavirus-related symptoms when they returned home after traveling on separate trips for their jobs to New York and Philadelphia.
At the recommendation of their doctors the two will remain quarantined in their home in Richmond until both show no signs or symptoms for coronavirus for three days in a row, ABC 8 News reported.
Information about Whitman-Walker’s respiratory clinics and its newly implemented telehealth system for treating patients can be obtained here: