Pharmaceutical retailer Dis-Chem says it will be launching drive-through Covid-19 Testing sites in shopping center parking lots this week.

Drive-through testing sites went live today at their Olympus and Athol Oaklands (Blue Bird) branches in Centurion, Gauteng. While from Thursday 9 April more sites will come online at the Ballito Lifestyle Centre and the Pavilion in KwaZulu-Natal, as well as Canal Walk in the Western Cape.

The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases currently sits at 1,749, with 58,000 tests having been conducted says the Department of Health. Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize has warned against celebrating a low increases in the number of known cases of the novel coronavirus until widespread screening and testing is online. Most of the tests done to date have been via private laboratories, but the public health sector has promised to massively scale up its testing from this week.

Dis-Chem says it wants to be part of that ramp up to support laboratories that may be under strain with the increased volume of tests needed. They say delays to testing capacity could affect accurate tracking of outbreaks and transmission.

“It’s crucial that South Africa can accurately predict the trajectory of this pandemic. With a greater testing capacity comes a truer picture of the spread of the virus in the country and we’re proud to be able to support the health authorities during such a challenging time,” said Lizeth Kruger, head of Dis-Chem Clinics in a press statement.

The drive-throughs are to be situated in the parking areas of the shopping centres and will be open 09:00 to 16:00 on weekdays.

The testing will be done outside, from in your car, and therefore there is limited exposure for customers and staff. Each site is being equipped with protective equipment for staff including face screens, gloves, masks, protective gowns and disposal equipment.

Here’s how it works:

Consumers will be directed to the entrance.

Then to a registration point. Here they will need to fill out an NICD documentation form, which includes asking for people that you may have come into contact with.

Once completed you will the proceed to the payment point. It costs R850 a test.

Thereafter you will be tested. Tests will be carried out by fully trained registered nurses. The test being used is the same as the one presently utilised by healthcare practitioners.

Results will be available from 24 to 48 hours after testing.

All results will be logged with the NICD.

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