As the need to speed up Covid-19 testing in South Africa intensifies, a major pharmacy chain has launched drive-through testing stations at several of its branches around the country.
The move by Dis-Chem is a bid to help ramp up testing capacity, since accurate tracking of the coronavirus outbreak remains vital.
The testing sites will operate in the parking areas of the participating stores.
Lizeth Kruger, head of Dis-Chem Clinics, says laboratories across South Africa are facing pressure due to more Covid-19 tests being done.
“This has a knock-on effect with results taking longer, which then adds to the timing of diagnoses.
“At times like these, whatever support the private sector can give to government will be valuable. We are all fighting the same unseen enemy.”Lizeth Kruger, head of Dis-Chem Clinics
‘Drive-through’ on weekdays
Dis-Chem’s testing sites will be open from 9am to 4pm on weekdays. Testing is done outside – in the convenience of your car – and therefore there is limited exposure both for customers and for staff doing the testing.
Safe testing protocol
Each site is equipped with protective equipment for staff including face screens, gloves, masks, protective gowns and disposal equipment.
The drive-through tests are open to anyone and all results are logged with the National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD).
The tests are done by registered nurses and Dis-Chem says they are the same ones being used by other healthcare practitioners in South Africa. They will also be done in exactly the same way as at laboratories around the country.
The process is simple – drivers are directed to the entrance and then proceed to a registration point where they hand over completed NICD documentation.
Quick turnaround time
After payment of R850, the test is carried out, and the results become available within 24 to 48 hours.
The Dis-Chem drive-through testing sites are already operating at the company’s Centurion Mall, Olympus, Fourways Mall and Blu Bird Centre (Athol) branches in Gauteng.
All the company’s drive-through testing sites are listed on its website and plans are in motion to increase the number of drive-through testing sites over the next few days, it said in a statement.
“In light of the increasing incidence of Covid-19 transmissions, it’s crucial that South Africa can accurately predict the trajectory of this pandemic.”Lizeth Kruger
“With a greater testing capacity comes a truer picture of the spread of the virus in the country,” Kruger says.