Covid-19 tests in just 8 minutes using ‘drive-thru’

People using the ‘drive-thru’ facility to undergo the Covid-19 test.

PETALING JAYA: KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital’s “drive-thru” Covid-19 tests are helping Malaysians get screened for the deadly virus in just eight minutes.

Although there are other medical healthcare facilities in the country that offer drive-through Covid-19 screenings, KPJ Damansara said it is the only one that does not require appointments.

While walk-in tests can take up to 20 minutes, it takes around eight to 10 minutes to test each person at the drive-through, with the results available in 24 hours.

Around 60 people took the tests when the drive-through opened yesterday, and KPJ Damansara has screened more than 1,200 walk-in customers since March 2.

“The objective of the drive-thru is to reduce contact with others and make it convenient for people to get tested,” said Dr Nur Abdul Karim, consultant emergency physician and head of the Accident & Emergency Services at KPJ Damansara.

“We are following the South Korean model to test everyone. Test, test, test – and then test again. By testing everyone, we can detect positive cases early and help minimise the spread of Covid-19.

“This is the same test that is used in other hospitals and it is endorsed by the health ministry as the ‘gold standard’,” she added.

The drive-through is divided into two stations.

Another person undergoing the Covid-19 test.

The first station is set aside for registration and payment as well as temperature, oxygen and pulse readings.

The second station is dedicated for the Covid-19 tests, made up of nasopharyngeal (nose) and oropharyngeal (throat) swabs. The customers are then provided a consultation and will have their queries answered.

The drive-through tests are conducted from 8.30am to 12.30pm from Mondays to Saturdays.

Nur said the hospital was considering expanding the drive-through’s hours but was wary about overburdening the facility’s staff.

“We don’t want to overwork our staff and cause burnout,” she said.

Dr Nur Abdul Karim.

“We have to do proper documentation for every test and submit the paperwork to the district health office. We also need to properly disinfect the testing stations – and all that takes time.

“It also depends on the capacity of our labs to support these tests. So far, I’m glad our labs have been very consistent and we have been able to release the results within 24 hours,” she added.

One customer interviewed by FMT said the main reason he chose to do the test was the speed and convenience it offered.

“I got a fever yesterday, so I decided to come here and get checked. It’s easier and quicker this way as I won’t have to be in a crowded hospital,” said Chong Tat Lin.

CLICK HERE FOR THE LATEST DATA ON THE COVID-19 SITUATION IN MALAYSIA