First drive-thru Covid-19 tests carried out at Spain’s Alicante Hospital de Sant Joan

ALICANTE’S Hospital de Sant Joan has today begun testing people for coronavirus from a tent in the health centre’s car park, without the need for ‘patients’ to leave their car.

At least 50 people have already had samples taken whilst sitting in the driver’s seat of their vehicles, but this figure is expected to rise in the next few days.

At the moment, these ‘drive-thru’ tests are only being carried out on healthcare personnel and people who have been summoned by their health centre who meet certain medical criteria, such as a weakened immune system or pregnant women with symptoms of the disease.

Until now, nurses from the department visited homes to collect samples, meaning only six or seven could be done each day.

With this new tent, drive-thru system, the health centre hopes to increase diagnostic capacity, since it is the patients themselves who drive to the hospital, without the need to get out of the car, while samples are taken from their mouth and nose.

Samples taken are sent to the General Hospital of Alicante and in four or five hours, the result is known. Positive cases no longer have to be sent to Madrid, to the National Mircrobiology Centre, for further confirmation.

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Written by

Tara Rippin

Tara Rippin is a reporter for Spain’s largest English-speaking newspaper, Euro Weekly News, and is responsible for the Costa Blanca region.
She has been in journalism for more than 20 years, having worked for local newspapers in the Midlands, UK, before relocating to Spain in 1990.
Since arriving, the mother-of-one has made her home on the Costa Blanca, while spending 18 months at the EWN head office in Fuengirola on the Costa del Sol.
She loves being part of a community that has a wonderful expat and Spanish mix, and strives to bring the latest and most relevant news to EWN’s loyal and valued readers.

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