The old school drive-through has a new function.
The novel coronavirus, aka COVID-19, is wreaking havoc across the globe. Every country is affected but some are handling it better than others. Although the US was slow to begin its own battle, federal and state authorities have since gone into action. As always in a time of crisis, creative solutions are needed and several states have done this by beginning drive-through coronavirus testing programs.
The idea is to avoid the spread of the illness in hospital waiting rooms. So far, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Texas, Washington and New Hampshireare slated to open such centers this week.
And because, in the words of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases' Anthony Fauci, the nation's testing is "failing - let's admit it," those drive-throughs are proving to be very popular testing methods. And therein lies a new problem: one was already forced to shut down, though it's likely temporary. Bloomberg reports that Colorado's drive-through coronavirus testing station in Denver opened last Wednesday but had to be closed by Thursday.
There was a huge line of Dodge Grand Caravan minivans and Toyota RAV4 crossovers filled with passengers waiting for up to four hours. The University of Washington Medical Center can only test between 40 to 50 people per day and is limited to only university employees, students, and local first responders.
This drive-through model, which can be set up in any parking lot, is being used very successfully in South Korea where the coronavirus outbreak has been especially severe. However, there's been a test kit shortage in the US and this will likely pose more challenges for these unconventional centers. But the good news is that those who do manage to gain access to a drive-through equipped with enough kits can be tested with a nasal swab in only about five minutes. The results are reported the next day and those found to be positive are quickly isolated. For those unable to get tested, the best and safest thing to do is to self-quarantine at home.