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Exclusive: Meet the Lab Behind Mumbai’s 3 Drive-Thru Testing Sites for COVID-19

Exclusive: Meet the Lab Behind Mumbai’s 3 Drive-Thru Testing Sites for COVID-19

The idea behind drive-thru testing is simple: keeping potentially sick patients in their cars and collect samples without the patient stepping out of their car. #COVID19 #CoronaVirusUpdates

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If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, it’s natural that you will want to visit a hospital as soon as possible and get tested. Unfortunately, the long queues and crowds there also make them potential hotspots, making even the healthy at risk of catching infections.

As a result, several initiatives are being introduced to keep patients and healthcare providers safe, and one among them is in Mumbai, which is home to the maximum number of COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra.


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SRL Diagnostics, a company, specialising in pathology and radiology has set up three drive-thru booths in various parts of Mumbai to make COVID-19 testing quicker and easier for the residents of the city. First developed in South Korea, such testing sites are gaining popularity all over the world!

Get COVID-19 tests done without stepping out of your car

srl drive thru mumbai covid-19 testing
Image Courtesy: Archika Srivastava/ SRL Diagnostics

Speaking to The Better India, Dr Prabal Deb, the director of lab operations and the chief histopathologist at SRL Diagnostics, said “The drive-thru facility has been conceptualised to collect the test sample without requiring people to step out of their cars. This process will enable a larger number of collections, with minimal chance of spread of infection. While not much is known about the COVID-19, one thing is certain — it’s highly contagious. So, a potential patient who is sitting inside their own car is the safest way to minimise human to human transfer. This process is safer both for the patient and our phlebotomist.”

The sites are currently set up at Celestia Spaces, Sewri, IndiaBulls Finance Centre in Lower Parel, and Lodha Supremus in Kanjurmarg.

As the name suggests, you drive into the testing sites where healthcare professionals take nasal or throat swab samples. The person undergoing the test is required to sit in the co-passenger’s seat, or the rear left seat. It takes 5-10 minutes for the process of taking the tests to be completed.

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Following the test, the collected sample is packed with complete care so that there is no spillage or contamination. It is then sent to the SRL Goregaon Reference Lab for testing. The referring doctor of the patient should receive the report within 24 hours.

“By collecting samples through these drive-thru’s, we are doing everything possible to protect the well-being of our brave and selfless healthcare providers by minimising human to human interaction without compromising on the testing protocols. This way, we are contributing towards minimising transmission and helping to “flatten the curve,” Dr Deb shares.

To make the testing more efficient and to avoid long queues of cars at the testing sites, SRL Diagnostics has organised a system one needs to follow.

How can I get a drive-through Coronavirus test in Mumbai?

srl drive thru mumbai covid-19 testing
Image Courtesy: Archika Srivastava/ SRL Diagnostics

The testing sites are open from 8 am to 4 pm on all days. But to ensure you get tested quickly, book an appointment with the doctors. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Call 1800222000 (a toll-free number) to make an appointment with the doctors. You will be asked for your email address for the Mumbai diagnostics centre to send required forms.
  • In case you don’t have an email address, the forms are sent on your WhatsApp number.
  • You can also download the forms from SRL Diagnostic’s website or send an email request for the same to connect@srl.in.
  • Following are the documents required to get a COVID-19 test at the drive-through facilities- a form filled by a physician, a medical prescription requesting the test and an Aadhaar card for identity verification.
  • Once your appointment is booked, you can visit the designated centre at the assigned time.
  • “If not arriving in a self-driven car, the patient should sit in the rear seat. It is advisable that both the patient and driver be wearing face masks, and keep the windows closed, till instructed by the phlebotomist manning the COVID-19 drive-thru specimen collection site,” says Dr Deb.
  • He further explains, “On being instructed, only the windowpane of the seat, where the patient is sitting, should be lowered. The phlebotomist, attired in full PPE gear, would collect the nasal / throat swab sample through the car window. Immediately after collection, the window needs to be rolled up, and the car with the patient [should be] driven away,” adding that no occupant of the car should alight from the vehicle during this entire process.

Also Read: #CoronaWarrior: 61-Y0 Mumbai Woman Stitches 400 Masks in 48 Hours For Our Safety


(Edited by Gayatri Mishra)

Like this story? Or have something to share? Write to us: contact@thebetterindia.com, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

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