Mumbai now has three drive-through testing sites for COVID-19 swab collection, making it easier to take samples while maintaining social distancing.
These sites, set up at Indiabulls Finance Centre in Lower Parel, Celestia Spaces in Sewri and Lodha Supremus in Kanjurmarg will be managed by SRL Diagnostics. The first drive-through sample collection site was launched in Gurgaon’s Sector 29 on April 11.
The facility will collect the test sample without people having to step out of their cars. The patient remains in the passenger seat, next to the driver, or in the left rear seat. Nasal or throat swab sample is taken through the car window, and the entire process (drive-in entry to exit) takes five to 10 minutes.
The swab is sent to a laboratory for testing and the patient can receive the report the same day if the sample is given before noon.
“Sites like these are needed greatly as active cases in Mumbai are increasing exponentially and the drive-through concept works as a great tool to fast-track sample collection. Not only is the method faster, but also limits human interaction with potentially infected people, preventing the spread of the virus,” said Ravi Aggarwal, regional COO (south, west, central India and international business), SRL Diagnostics.
Mr. Aggarwal said the method originated in South Korea and is becoming popular all over the world. “The idea behind drive-through testing is simple: keeping potentially sick patients in their cars and allowing plenty of ventilation throughout the testing facility,” he said.
SRL Diagnostics has set up a toll-free number (1800-222-000) for making the drive-through test appointment. The documents required for the testing are a form filled by a qualified physician, doctor’s prescription seeking a test and Aadhaar card.
On calling the toll-free number, the patient will be asked to share their e-mail address on which all the required forms will be shared. Alternatively, the patient can download the forms from the SRL website. In case any patient does not have an e-mail address, WhatsApp is used to send and receive all the documents. The drive-through testing facility is available from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on all days.
Dr. Prabal Deb, director, lab operations and chief histopathologist, clinical reference lab, Mumbai, SRL Diagnostics, said, there was a huge shortage of personal protective equipment like masks, gloves, hazmat suits and so on, and thus the need to find innovative ways to conduct tests efficiently. “By collecting samples through these drive-throughs, we are not compromising on the testing protocols and simultaneously doing everything we can to protect the well-being of our brave and selfless frontline soldiers by minimising human-to-human interaction,” Dr. Deb said.