FAQ: Where Can I Get A Drive-Through COVID-19 Test Done?
One available mode of testing for COVID-19 in India is drive-through test. Here’s all you need to know about it.
With no end to the coronavirus pandemic in sight, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has been focussing their efforts on ramping up testing for COVID-19 in the country. As various experts have been saying constantly, testing is key to infected individuals so as to ensure that they are isolated and do not spread the virus further.
PM Modi has also said that efforts are underway to increase India’s testing capacity to one million tests per day in the coming weeks. At the moment, India’s testing is roughly at 7,00,000 tests per day.
One of the available modes of testing for COVID-19 in India is drive-through test. Here’s all you need to know about it and why it can be a good option.
What is drive-through testing?
The idea of a drive-through testing centre comes from drive-through joints for fast-food restaurants like McDonalds etc. In this method, the driver simply pulls up to a drive-through COVID-19 testing centre but remains in the car while a healthcare worker in protective gear takes a nasal or a throat swab through the window.
Where did the idea originate?
Drive-through testing was launched in South Korea in February as demand for COVID-19 tests soared amid the country’s aggressive approach to testing. After South Korea pioneered this technique, many others countries such as the US, UK, UAE and Germany among others followed suit.
How long does the test take and how much does it cost?
While the stipulated time is 20 minutes, the process of testing at one of these centres usually takes about 10-12 minutes per person and reports are emailed or available within 24-36 hours. The test costs Rs 4,500, which is in accordance with the price limit set by the government.
What drive-through testing facilities are available in India?
Dr Dangs Lab was the first to offer this drive-through sample collection service in India back in April with a centre in Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh. They also have other such makeshift facilities at Saket and near Siri Fort Auditorium in Delhi. Similarly, SRL Diagnostics has facilities at three locations in Mumbai at Lower Parel, Sewri and Kanjurmarg. They also have a facility at Gurugram Sector 29 and Sector 11 in Chandigarh.
Would I need any documents for the test? How does it work?
A person looking to get tested would need a government ID such as Aadhaar card, passport etc, a doctor’s prescription advising a COVID-19 test and a filled-out patient proforma form. With regard to Dr Dangs Lab, bookings are to be made online on their website and an online form needs to be filled which asks for the required documents as well as vehicle information. Once the registration is completed, a document is shared containing instructions and details about the procedure. All of this can be done from home.
What is the process of testing at one of these centres?
At the centre, the suspected patient is guided through several stations by a series of signages, directing the person wishing to be tested to be seated on the right side of the car. First the identity of the vehicle is confirmed, then once the car arrives at the designated testing spot, he/she is directed by signages to roll down the window and tilt his/her head back. One nasal and one throat swab is then taken.
What are the advantages of this approach to testing?
This method ensures that there is minimal contact with other potentially infected persons and allows for testing of a large number of people in a shorter period of time. This is also a good way of keeping doctors and healthcare workers safe, while also allowing suspected patients to get tested without fear of ostracisation as may happen with collection of samples from homes.
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