News24 Wire
Wire Service
3 minute read
27 Mar 2020
12:00 pm

Drive-through testing station aims to help flatten the curve

News24 Wire

At the site, healthcare workers dressed in full protective gear are at the ready to conduct quick and easy testing on the public.

Lancet Laboratory Rochester Place nurse Mukhethwa Audry Ramalata tests patients for coronavirus during drive-through testing, 18 March 2020, in Sandton, at the lab. Picture: Michel Bega

If you are someone who frequents Corlett Drive in Johannesburg, you might have noticed a strange sight at Wanderers Stadium on Thursday.

People dressed in white protective gear from head to toe at the main entrance might have caught your eye but fear not, they are there to help you.

HealthInsite, a corporate wellness and occupational health service provider in collaboration with Mullah Labs, has set up a drive-through Covid-19 testing station at the stadium.

As cases in South Africa continue to increase at a worrying rate, with 927 as of Thursday afternoon, its COO, Dr Jedd Myers, explained the station would make access to testing easier.

The idea aimed to improve access and reduce the risk and spread of infection, Myers said, and for the company to contribute to “flattening the curve” in South Africa.

He added the intention was not to test people out of convenience, but for those who meet the criteria for testing.

“The intention is to test people who are considered at risk, who are displaying symptoms and/or have been referred by their doctor.”

At the site, healthcare workers dressed in full protective gear are at the ready to conduct quick and easy testing on the public.

Myers said the company was trying to play its part in fighting the global pandemic.

“This is an extraordinary experience we’re going through as the human race, it’s unparalleled in most of our lifetimes – I don’t think we’ll ever live through something like this again. I certainly hope not.”

Unwilling to simply observe the impact of Covid-19 from the sidelines, Myers said the company had to get involved in a meaningful way.

“The people we work with are incredible people … they’ve really gone above and beyond and believe in what we’re doing,” he added.

People who are interested in getting tested at the station will be asked to remain in their cars while speaking to a professional.

Their hands and steering wheel will then be sanitised and they will be asked to complete some paperwork, including a contact list.

A swab will then be taken.

“The swab takes a couple of seconds and because it’s a sensitive area of your anatomy, it’s a bit uncomfortable but not painful,” Myers said.

The swab will be transported to a SANAS-accredited laboratory where it will be analysed.

“Results can take anywhere between 48 and 72 hours, and the laboratory will communicate this to you either by email or telephonically through our contact centre.”

The process is aligned with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases guidelines and protocols, with positive results being referred as per the legal framework.

Myers said, however, the company’s primary intention in this initiative was to have a broad impact on the crisis.

“My intention has always been to impact hundreds of thousands of lives … to create healthcare initiatives, strategies, processes and operations that would impact lives.”

He added he hoped the station would be allowed to work throughout the lockdown period, which started at midnight on Thursday, as it was an essential service.

Beyond this, he is looking forward to expanding it throughout Gauteng and possibly South Africa.

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