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NIH Record - 75th Anniversary - National Institutes of Health

Director Hails Asymptomatic Testing, Screening Staff

Collins poses with a group of staff members in the Clinical Center.

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins (r) toured several testing and screening operations in several locations around the Clinical Research Center.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Collins stands in a circle of staff in the CC 5th floor atrium.

Collins talks with staff in the 5th floor atrium.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Collins chats with staff at screening booths near the north entrance of the Clinical Center.

Capt. Ann Marie Matlock (l) chats with NIH director Dr. Francis Collins about construction of the screening booths and how much of an improvement they were over the carts and plexiglass that were used at the beginning of the pandemic. Shown in the background is registered nurse Aisha Bundu-Wurie; at right is Anitra Fitzgerald-Monroe, senior clinical research registered nurse.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

Collins poses with a group of staff members in the Clinical Center.

Collins meets with staff involved with screening, testing and chatted about their roles in the effort that began in March 2020. The operation experienced a number of busy periods as the pandemic evolved.

Photo: Chia-Chi Charlie Chang

NIH director Dr. Francis Collins visited on June 7 with staff who conduct Covid-19 asymptomatic testing and screening at the Clinical Center. CC CEO Dr. James Gilman accompanied Collins on a tour of operations that began at Bldg. 10’s north entrance, where the director thanked screeners and guards.

The tour next stopped on the 5th floor where Collins met with various groups, then continued to the South Lobby where he applauded staffers there. Capt. Ann Marie Matlock, chief of the medical surgical specialties service at the Clinical Center who took the lead on asymptomatic testing, was also on hand for the tour. In the last few months, Collins has been on a “Gratitude Tour,” lauding NIH operations and employees who performed unusual and extraordinary services throughout the pandemic. 

Screening Facts

  • Screening began March 2020 in the north, south and P1 lobbies
  • Additional morning screening for staff began in October at the P3 garage entrance and in June 2021 at the Blood Bank entrance
  • Total persons screened (as of June 3, 2021): 1,462,994
  • Most screened persons in one day (Apr. 21, 2021): 5,920
  • Most screened persons in a 6-hour block (6 a.m.-noon): 2,251 in the South Lobby 

Testing Facts

  • NIH Bethesda Patient Care began testing on May 21, 2020
  • Campus began testing on Aug. 11, 2020
  • Total tests (5th fl. as of June 3, 2021): 111,713 tests run with specimens from 12,517 staff
  • Highest 3 days for testing (5th fl.): 1,307 tests (Dec. 22), 1,148 tests (Nov. 23) and 1,110 tests (Nov. 24)
  • Highest 3-day test total for Clinical Center: 2,379 (Dec. 20-22)
  • Tests per person: 309 people tested between 40-49 times, 44 people more than 50 times, 8 people more than 60 times, 3 people more than 70 times, and 2 people more than 80 times
  • Saliva testing began Sept. 13; 25 percent of first-time testers choose the saliva test
  • Number of platforms for testing: 6
  • Number of validations of SARS-CoV-2 PCR: 14 (due to supplies and equipment shortages, combined with platforms with different turnaround times). Typically, only 1 validation for a single viral target
  • Highest month for Patient Portal support calls: 1,274 calls in and 1,078 out (November)
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