coronavirus testing

Toronto might be getting drive-thru coronavirus testing

As some Ontario hospitals prepare to set up stand-alone coronavirus testing centres to isolate potential cases from people in emergency department and doctor's office waiting rooms, the province is also looking at other options for testing while the number of COVID-19 cases in Canada and beyond continues to rise.

One possibility is drive-thru assessments, where properly equipped medical personnel will be able to screen people in their own cars — a testing method that the forthcoming COVID-19 Community Assessment Centre at Toronto's Michael Garron Hospital is considering.

According to the Star, drive-thru testing in Ontario will likely be by appointment only, and will only become a regular thing if our coronavirus situation worsens to a point where drastically increased and faster testing becomes necessary.

People will be pre-screened to make sure only those who meet criteria are assessed so as not to overrun the system.

Drive-thru examinations include a short interview and a quick nasal swab, after which results can be sent via email, allowing patients to return home to self-quarantine.

Nations who are currently experiencing larger-scale outbreaks of the novel communicable disease — such as the U.K., South Korea, Germany and the U.S. — have already started carrying out such in-vehicle patient evaluations to limit exposure and community spread while also expediting the testing process.

Until standalone testing centres become available, health officials in Canada are advising anyone who has recently traveled (or been in contact with someone who has) and is experiencing symptoms of respiratory illness to, first and foremost, stay at home and contact their local public health unit.

Also, to call ahead before going to any medical facility to seek testing and treatment so that they can adequately prepare.

Most of the 118,000 cases of COVID-19 in 114 countries worldwide have been mild enough not to require hospitalization or much medical attention — reinforcing the need for quick and easy testing outside of hospital emergency rooms. 

More than half of those who have contracted the virus have since recovered, while around 4,300 have died.

Lead photo by

UW Medicine


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