More US States to Start Drive-Thru Coronavirus Testing

By Melina Wisecup

NEW YORK— As of Friday, New York State has the largest number of people confirmed to have the coronavirus– just ahead of Washington and California. On the second day of ‘containment zone’ in New Rochelle, New York, authorities opened the area’s first drive-thru coronavirus testing outpost. New Rochelle is the epicenter of the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak in the state.

The drive-thru testing site is in Glen Island Park and operating with 6 lanes. Governor Andrew Cuomo said the estimated turn over time is around 15 minutes per car, and the site is expected to serve around 200 cars per day.

Drive-through testing
Drive-thru testing site shown in Denver, Colorado, on March 13, 2020. (John Lorinc/CNN).

The tests are not open for just anyone, you have to make an appointment first and qualify for a test. To make an appointment, the city advises you to call either your primary doctor or the state hotline at 888-364-3065.

According to Business Insider, seven U.S. states have started drive-thru testing sites, including California, Colorado, Connecticut, Minnesota, New York, Texas, and Washington.

Here’s how it works: people drive to the facility, then the medical staff comes to the car to take a swab. The test is then sent to a lab and the person is contacted with the results.

Medical staff give a swab test to a person
Medical staff give a swab test to a person at a drive-thru testing site in Denver, Colorado, on March 13, 2020. (John Lorinc/CNN).

“It’s not only faster an easier but it’s also smarter and safer because you’re not exposing people to a person who may be positive,” said Cuomo.

He says right now, they are prioritizing New Rochelle residents since that’s the area with the most dense concentration of confirmed cases. Another priority is the elderly population and people with respiratory problems or other illnesses.

After President Donald Trump declared a national emergency on Friday, more drive-through testing sites are expected to open. Some of the largest U.S. corporations such as Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and CVS will offer large-scale testing by setting up drive-thru sites in some of their parking lots.

President of Northwell Health Michael Dowling had some positive words of his own.

“We will win this. It may take some time but we need a dose of optimism along with practicality as we deal with these issues,” Dowling said.

The day before the drive-thru site was opened in New York State, Cuomo expressed appreciation for the medical staff involved.

“It says something about their character, about who they are. It says something about their heart and their soul which is just truly beautiful,” said Gov. Cuomo. “It’s humanity at it’s best.”

Cuomo said by next week the state should be able to do around 5,000 tests per day.