In response to the increasing demand for coronavirus testing in the country, HealthInsite – a corporate health and wellness services organisation – established a drive through testing facility In Johannesburg at The Wanderers Club at the end of March.
The facility has been exceptionally well received and the feedback from both patients and doctors has been overwhelmingly positive – the station has the capacity to test up to 35 people per day.
Cape Town was then identified as a region that had been hard hit, and would require a similar facility, and The River Club was identified as a possible option. The owners of the facility jumped on board, and opended up their premises with the result that the drive through testing facility will be open at the venue from the 22nd of April.
“As the second of what will almost certainly be many similar sites of operation for us, the we expect The River Club to be succesful in bringing access to testing to the concerned public”, says Dr Jedd Myers, the Chief Operating Officer of HealthInsite“.
As a collaboration with SANAS accredited Mullah laboratories, the testing station is able to offer Coronavirus testing to people who meet the NICD criteria for testing including people who have been in direct contact with a person who has been positively diagnosed with Coronavirus, those showing symptoms of Covid-19 or anyone referred by their doctor
“We are highly cognisant of the importance of compliance with the guidelines for testing issued by the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD), and are stringently aligning with these in the drive through testing service to avoid creating undue pressure on the precious testing infrastructure”, says Dr Myers. “We are seeing many individuals at the testing station after identifying symptoms in themselves or after being referred by their doctors, and meeting the criteria for testing. Clearly there is widespread awareness and anxiety around the condition, and the accesibility of the drive through has hit the mark” he says.
“It is evident that the war on coronavirus will have at its roots effective clinical intervention, initiatives to reduce transmission (like social distancing) and increasingly, the application of testing as a tool to identify cases and then to trace the contacts” says Dr Myers. “Through increasing the base of testing and identification of Coronavirus positive people, the testing station is positioned to play a key role in flattening the curve of the covid-19 pandemic curve in South Africa” he explains.
Drive through facilities have been proven to be an effective component in testing for the virus and flattening the curve in many countries including South Korea, USA, Australia and Israel. The model sees a person being tested remaining within their vehicle for the duration of the test while medical attendants and administrators complete the paperwork and testing procedures. All the way along the process, stringent measures to sanitize the vehicle and the individual being tested and to protect the frontline personnel from transmission are applied.
“The protection of patients, clinical personnel and other roleplayers is foremost in our minds during the testing”, says Dr Myers. “This includes the application of extensive measures of hygiene in the environment as well as the use of personal protective equipment.” Anyone who tests positive is contacted and referred into the national tracing process under the auspices of the NICD.
“There is scope for extensive services of this nature during the pandemic” explains Dr Myers. “As a country we can ill afford bottlenecks in the system or blockages to vital services required for mitigating the impact of Covid-19. Prevailing in this war will require the committed involvement of many roleplayers, aligned around the national framework”, he concludes.