MORGANTOWN – Officials with WVU Medicine and Mon Health System are simultaneously working to expand testing for the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, while preparing for the anticipated uptick in patients requiring treatment for the virus.

WVU Medicine opened five drive-through testing locations on Wednesday in Morgantown, Bridgeport, Parkersburg, Wheeling and Martinsburg where pre-screened patients displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 could be screened with the specimens being sent to national labs for testing.

According to WVU Medicine, 166 patients were tested on Wednesday.

“Probably the more important thing we want to expand that it’s not only COVID-19 testing, but eventually we’d like to get to the point where anybody with respiratory symptoms can come here and we can screen you for all viruses,” said WVU Medicine Chief Medical Officer Judy Charlton.

Thursday, Mon Health System announced it will provide a drive-through testing site that will be operational starting Friday. The drive-through service will be available in the SurgiCare South area of the Mon Health Medical Center campus. Testing will available from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Only pre-screened patients, who are displaying symptoms consistent with COVID-19 are being tested at this point.

“There’s just not enough test material or protective gear for us to open it up to everything, so right now we have to be restrictive,” explained Charlton.

In the meantime, hospital officials are preparing for the possible influx of patients who will require treatment for COVID-19. Earlier this week, WVU Medicine announced that was postponing all elective, non-emergency surgeries and gastrointestinal procedures through May 15.

Mon Health System and facilities has suspended all non-essential treatments in an effort to protect patients and hospital staff as well as focus on community response to COVID-19. Non-essential care is defined as that which is not time-sensitive for medical reasons. Patients already admitted will continue receiving necessary post-operative and follow-up care.