Drive-thru coronavirus test centres could help reduce spread in Canada: expert

Drive-thru clinics testing people for COVID-19 in South Korea could serve as a model for Canada, where the spread of the virus is comparatively limited but increasing to the point that such early interventions could be considered, an epidemiologist says.

Stephen Hoption Cann of the University of British Columbia’s school of population and public health said drive-thrus in the city of Goyang allow people to stay in their cars as staff in protective clothing take samples from their throats and noses.

The low-threshold testing, which is being done even if someone has a sore throat without a fever or cough, has reduced spread of the novel coronavirus and saved time waiting on test results because samples don’t have to be sent elsewhere for analysis, he said.

“If it’s positive they get a phone call, if it’s negative they’ll just get a text message,” Hoption Cann said, adding people who are diagnosed with the virus are placed in isolation before they can infect others.

The United Kingdom is also opening virus-testing drive-thrus, he said.

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