Medical centers are experimenting with an ingenious method of testing the coronavirus which minimizes contact, maximizes efficiency and is based on an almost ubiquitous method of transport: test stations with drive-over windows. To use a foreign term, "drive-through". A bit like McDrive, so to speak, but for health purposes.
After all, driveway windows are already used to collect food, coffee, drugs, cash, and even groceries.
Drive-through tests for the coronavirus were introduced for the first time in South Korea. They are becoming an increasingly popular option, with countries like the US, Germany and the UK working to open their own.
Drive-through: because it is safer
"There are fewer face-to-face contacts", says Lee Jae-joon, mayor of Goyang, a city in northern South Korea. "If you run an indoor test site, there is a concern that suspicious patients may infect each other in the arrival halls, and even in triages set up outside hospitals".
Drive-through coronavirus test sites in Seoul, South Korea, have helped the country successfully test hundreds of thousands of people in the country since the outbreak began.
That number is likely to continue to increase. Nearly 20.000 people are now being tested every day in South Korea, according to with the BBC , much more than anywhere else in the world. According to the data collected last weekend , South Korea is running nearly 4 tests for every 1000 people. The US, for comparison, is still stuck at 5 tests per million inhabitants.
One way to speed up the process, in addition to the use of fast and reliable tests, is to allow people to stay in cars while they are being tested. All patients need to do to undergo the test is to roll down the window and stick out their tongue to receive the swab.
Several states in the US, including Colorado , Connecticut , Hawaii e Washington they are joining the trend by setting up their own drive-through test sites. The University of Washington Medical Center in North Seattle is now capable of testing 40 to 50 people per day with a drive-through station, according to local news . Drive-through test sites will be accessed with a doctor's note and photo ID. And (for now only in Colorado), testing in the state is "even" free.