WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) – As the number of COVID-19 cases are expected to grow, health providers are working to get more patients suspected of having the virus tested.
Waterbury Hospital is the latest facility to open a drive-through sampling station.
The hospital is preparing for an increase in the number of people infected with COVID-19.
The new drive-through sampling station is right outside the emergency department.
“Having the benefit of this testing zone allows us to be more efficient. We can test those patients who have low symptoms that are at low risk an we can do it here rather than sending them to the ER or their PCP to get tested,” said Dr. Justin Lundbye, Chief Medical Officer at Waterbury Hospital.
Dr. Justin Lundbye says the patient must receive an order from his or her physician before they can pull up to the drive-through.
Once that form is submitted by the doctor or patient, individuals can pull up to the drive-through and step out.
“So, we will swab them over there. Collect the specimen in a very careful way so that we don’t expose anyone else, seal it up and bring it into the tent,” Dr. Lundbye said.
Staff wear protective gear and swabs are taken from the nose in a meticulous way so that no one is exposed.
Inside the tent is where the collected samples are processed before they get shipped off to a private lab.
“We put that in a medium and then it gets transported to our lab facility where we can submit it for testing,” Dr. Lundbye said.
The process is pretty quick for anyone who fears they may have contracted the virus.
The drive-through sampling also allows the hospital to function in a safe and productive way.
“So, by allowing us to triage the lower risk patients, it protects the rest of the public, the staff, and it really creates the hospital to be more efficient so we can take care of the truly ill patients that require our attention immediately,” Dr. Lundbye said.
It takes about three to five days for results to come back, so during that time the patient must self-quarantine.
Greenwich and Bristol are the other towns to have opened drive-through sampling stations.
“I think it’s going to get worse, we’re going to have more people get the disease. The good news is that most people will get better,” Dr. Lundbye said.
The sampling station is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m.