New Delhi: Amid calls from several quarters for rigorous testing for COVID-19, a private laboratory in the national capital will start from Monday drive-through tests for the deadly virus that has claimed at least 77 lives and infected over 3,370 patients in the country.
According to a report in the Indian Express, Dr Dang’s Lab, located in West Delhi’s Punjabi Bagh area, has turned a stretch of 30-40m of the local central market into a drive-through area with only one car being allowed inside at a time.
Twenty minutes have been set aside for each vehicle with an 11-minute buffer period. There are four trained medical officers and the 30-50 patients are likely to be tested daily from 8.30am to 4.30pm.
“The guidelines to get the test (done) are the same — a doctor’s prescription for COVID-19 testing and the doctor’s registration number; a government photo-ID such as Aadhaar card; and a patient pro forma request form. Apart from this, there are two more questions on the make and colour of the car, and the number plate of the car,” the laboratory’s CEO, Dr Arjun Dang, was quoted as saying in the report.
The drive-through will have four stations — at the first signage, there is a banner with the lab’s name; at the second station, a trained personnel in personal protective equipment (PPE), manning the barricade, will check the registration number, the colour and make of the car with the details filed with the lab, as well as the patient’s identity proof, the doctor said.
“At all the stations, there is a signage that will say ‘please keep your windows rolled up’. At the third station, 10m away, a signage will say ‘please park your car inside the white box.’ This is placed next to a temporary structure that has double-sided ventilation, where a medical officer will get confirmation of the patient’s ID, wear the full PPE and will hold up a signage that will say ‘please roll down the window of the patient only, tilt your head back’. After this, two swabs will be taken, and from the fourth station, they can exit,” Dr Dang was quoted as saying.
Once an appointment is booked for the test, a PDF will be shared with all related details. The patient would have to be seated on the right as the booth is one the right side, Dr Dang said, adding no two-wheelers or taxis are allowed.
A study by Stanford Medicine has found this model as an effective strategy to respond to a pandemic, “especially in order to prevent the spread by avoiding possible transmission both to patient and medical staff”, he said.
With fears of the virus spreading at dedicated sample collection centres or during home collections, the new model may soon turn out to be the go-to option for many.