‘It frees up human resources’: Northern Italy to trial drive-through testing for Covid-19

AS Italy battles one of the worst outbreaks of coronavirus in the world, authorities are looking to trial drive through testing in a bid to increase the number of people tested a day and protect health workers. 

Figures for new cases of Covid-19 and deaths from the virus in Italy have been levelling out over the last few days. While there is a glimmer of hope that the virus has reached its peak in Italy, authorities say mass testing needs to be implemented in order to ease pressure on hospitals which are still overwhelmed. 

The city of Alessandria, in Piedmont, is already holding trials of drive-through testing. Drivers remain in their cars while a health worker in suit and goggles takes swabs. 

Luca Zaia, president of the Veneto region, has also announced that drive-through swabs will be used in the Veneto. He says that the results of these tests will come through via email in a couple of hours. Zaia hopes to carry out 20,000 tests a day in the region. 

Mass testing has proved effective in the town of Vo’ Euganeo, in the Veneto, which was one of the first towns to be locked down due to Covid-19. Every resident of the town was tested, allowing for isolation even for those with no symptoms. Mass testing a few weeks later revealed that the virus had been almost completely eradicated in the town.

Drive through testing ensures minimal contact between patients and medical workers and “frees up human resources,” as one nurse reported

Authorities hope that, like in South Korea, this type of mass testing will identify even the asymptomatic cases and allow the virus to be tracked more easily.   

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Rebecca Ann Hughes

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