Some states have set up remote, drive-through testing sites to identify people who may be carrying the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which leads to coronavirus (aka COVID-19) disease. Drive-through centers have been popping up as a way of quickly testing people who suspect they may have the virus — without bringing them into hospitals or medical clinics where they could infect others.
As the coronavirus concern continues to grow, more of these remote testing locations are opening. States such as Alabama, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New York, Ohio and Texas already have a number of these sites, with more states opening them as tests become available.
These drive-through centers became a necessity as more people rushed to doctors’ offices around the country when they believed they had contracted the virus.
Kevin Clancy of Barstool Sports, a sports and pop-culture blog, recorded his visit to one of the first testing locations in New York and he shared the video on Instagram. Clancy had been experiencing coughing and other cold-like symptoms for five days before making the appointment.
In his Instagram video, viewers can see the check-in process, which requires photo ID, followed by the nasal swab test.
WARNING: This video has some strong language. The testing experience begins at about the 3-minute mark if you want to skip over the intro.
Healthcare workers in Charlotte, North Carolina, set up a drive-through site this past week as a way to decrease the risk of healthy patients and ill patients intermingling.
“One of our most important goals is to make sure that we don’t expose our healthy patients to our sick patients,” Dr. Jennifer Womack of Charlotte’s Tryon Medical Partners’ practice explained to The Charlotte Observer.
“We were running into a lot of difficulties making that happen effectively in the offices. So, we developed this satellite location … and we’re diverting all our ill patients to this location so that they don’t come into contact with our well patients in the regular offices.”
What can people expect from one of these drive-through testing locations? As CGTN America described in a news clip posted to YouTube, drivers — who have already been pre-screened to qualify for testing and were given an appointment — queue up in their cars and keep their windows rolled up until they reach a designated spot for having the test conducted.
There, healthcare workers wearing protective gear administer the test by putting a cotton swab into the nose of the patient, and then the swab is sent to a lab to determine if the person has contracted COVID-19.
In Houston, Texas, KOU-11 News was on the scene of a testing site that had cars backed up for more than a mile. Medical professionals dressed in head-to-toe protective gear as they tested people in their cars. Results were reportedly available within four to 24 hours, and anyone who was tested was instructed to quarantine at home until they received the results.
Each state has its own rules as to who can get tested, but many states, such as Connecticut, require a doctor’s note to get screened.
The most common symptoms of coronavirus, which can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure, include fever, cough and shortness of breath. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a coronavirus self-checker for anyone unsure of whether or not they should seek testing.
Of course, call your doctor if you have any of the listed symptoms to receive guidance on possible testing.