Drive thru coronavirus testing center planned for east Jerusalem
2 April 2020 - The jerusalem post
Around 4,000 people were tested at drive through centers across Israel on Tuesday
Magen David Adom is planning to open a drive-through testing center in east Jerusalem for those in the locality suspected of having the coronavirus, the Jerusalem Municipality has said. The exact location is still being determined.
The director of the Health Ministry has, at the request of the mayor of Jerusalem Moshe Lion, confirmed that a dedicated center will be build in the locale, with construction starting as soon as the exact location is decided.
"We will do all that is necessary to help medical professionals to perform the task Central at that time, reducing the adhesion of sources, and talking," Lion said. "I ask the residents of East Jerusalem to be patient, be understanding, and of course, comply with the instructions of the Health Ministry."
Testing at the center is expected to begin tomorrow, and will be carried out by MDA with the assistance of Jerusalem Municipality, with the goal of reducing contagion and keeping the number of cases down.
At the same time, the four health funds have committed to doing testing in the Arab neighborhoods to help determine how much the virus has spread among the population. Health officials believe that because the haredim (ultra-Orthodox) and the Arab community has been reluctant to follow the Health Ministry's guidelines the novel coronavirus may be more widespread among those populations.
The move to open the drive-in complex follows similar centers already set up for testing in Bnei Brak, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheba, Jerusalem and Arara. On Wednesday, another two centers were opened in Ashdod and Rahat, as well.
The centers are opened to anyone who has symptoms and has received MDA approval to attend by calling the 101 hotline. Those approved by a doctor for testing receive an SMS message with the details of how to attend, and a time slot to arrive at the center in a private vehicle. They are also issued an ID number.
Throughout the process of being tested, the patient remains in their own vehicle, driving directly home again afterwards. In this way, the drive through centers are limiting the contact that suspected COVID-19 patients have with other people.
The centers have the potential to test thousands of residents between them daily, as efforts continue to contain the spread of the disease.
On Tuesday, around 4,000 people were tested at the drive through centers, while a further 4,000 were tested in their own homes by MDA teams across the country.
The Tel Aviv center saw 1,200 people sampled across the course of the day, while 791 arrived at the Jerusalem center, and 822 at Haifa.
MDA director-general Eli Bin said in a statement: "Thousands of corona tests are performed every day across the country, with more and more citizens being sampled at Magen David Adom's drive through complexes. This allows for an increase in the number of tests performed in Israel.
"I call anyone who has symptoms during the isolation to contact 101 Hotline , and make an appointment to take a sample in the center closest to his home. MDA EMTs and paramedics also continue to take samples in the homes of citizens who are unable to reach the drive through complexes on their own."
The Ministry of Health has also rolled out mobile testing centers operating daily until midnight. 250 people were tested at Bnei Brak and a further 261 at Tamra on Tuesday, with dozens more sampled at Modi'in on Wednesday morning.
Meanwhile, the a decision was made to move the testing center at the MDA station on HaMem Gimel Street in Jerusalem to the Hebrew University, as the station is still being used for non-coronavirus patients and blood donations.
The University has assigned a building and parking lot for ambulances, motorcycles and other emergency vehicles to the MDA. Around 40 EMTs and paramedics are on duty each shift, traveling to residents across the city to carry out testing in their own homes.