As part of the measures being taken to prevent the spread of the COVID-19, the Australian government has opened a’drive-thru’ coronavirus testing clinic in South Australia.
This is believed to be the first in the country
Once the system is operational, a patient will be seen every 20 minutes and he or she will be able to drive by the Repatriation Hospital in Adelaide’s south, wind their windows down and have test swabs taken.
According to reports, patients who need the test will require a referral from their GP before they can attend the drive-thru. It has been set up at the former Repatriation Hospital site in Adelaide’s inner southern suburbs.
Speaking on the development, South Australia Pathology’s clinical service director, Dr Tom Dodd, said the service had been designed as another way for health professionals to collect samples from those potentially affected by the virus and was not meant to replace any clinical services.
“So this service is really specifically for patients who have already seen a GP and not for people to have a clinical assessment.
“This is a pathology collection point only at this stage and we will be making it very clear to GPs that they’ll need to see the patients first and then refer the patients onto here after they’ve organised a collection time, and provided us with a request form,” Dr Dodd said.
He expressed the belief that it will be very effective in supporting isolation and barriers for patients with COVID-19.
“Patients will just literally be able to drive through this side of the Repat [hospital], wind their window down and the specimens will be collected directly out of the car window by SA Pathology nurses [who] will be wearing personal protective equipment.
“It presents no risk at all for anyone working on the site and will support the isolation of those patients until the results of their tests are known.”
The authorities are aiming to have more drive-thru clinics around Adelaide if the southern clinic is successful. While revealing that the clinic will operate for between eight and nine hours each day, Dr. Dodd said those hours would be increased if demand grows.
The system is currently operational overseas in South Korea, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
According to Dr Dodd, SA Pathology had completed 5,500 tests for coronavirus since January 31.