COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Central Ohio is joining other communities in providing faster, safer coronavirus testing for patients on a limited basis.
Drive-thru swab testing is not open to the general public right now, but some hospital systems are expanding the option for its patients.
Wednesday, the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center opened its second drive-thru testing site in a parking lot at the Jameson Crane Sports Medicine Institute near OH-315 and Ackerman Road. Drivers are funneled around staff parking, through a check in tent and then to a dual-lane testing tent.
“It helps off-load the emergency departments and the hospital because most patients don’t really need to be in an emergency department or don’t need to be in a hospital,” explained Dr. Daniel Bachmann, the director of emergency preparedness at the Wexner Medical Center.
Dr. Bachmann, who is also an emergency department physician, said the remote process is beneficial for both patients and hospitals. It limits the strain on hospital resources and prevents potentially contagious individuals from spreading the virus in an emergency department. He also explained the drive-thru option is a convenience for patients.
“We can provide the information that the patients need and get the testing with minimal interruption to the patients, really,” he said.
Before patients can be tested, they must first call their medical provider. Doctors can then refer patients to a call center where operators ask further questions to determine if a patient should be tested.
The large testing site is manned by close to 50 medical center staff, half of which are medical personnel. Everyone wears personal protective equipment as recommended by the CDC and Ohio Department of Health.
“We’re going to take care of everyone who needs taken care of, but it’s about being thoughtful about where those resources are being best used and thinking outside of the box a little bit by doing things like this,” explained Dr. Bachmann.
Staff say they’re monitoring test supplies and capabilities before making the drive-thru option available to the general public.
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