Dis-Chem Pharmacies has launched drive-through testing stations situated in the parking areas of a number of centres throughout the country where its stores are located.
This, the group said, is a result of the increasingly urgent need to speed up Covid-19 testing, together with the number of tests increasing daily which has led to delayed laboratory results.
The number of positive Covid-19 cases in South Africa has climbed to 1,686, an increase of 31 from before.
The Department of Health reported that another person had succumbed to the virus, taking the total number of deaths to 12.
The total number of Covid-19 tests conducted to date is 58,098, the department said.
“It is imperative to ramp up testing capacity to ensure accurate tracking of outbreaks and transmission,” Dis-Chem said.
According to Lizeth Kruger, head of Dis-Chem Clinics, laboratories across South Africa have been put under additional pressure due to the rise in testing.
“This has a knock-on effect with results taking longer which then adds to the timing of diagnoses. At times like these, whatever support the private sector can give to government will be valuable – we are all fighting the same unseen enemy, so Dis-Chem will be playing a supportive role in working to alleviate some of the pressure by introducing a drive-through testing option.”
Sites will be erected in the parking areas at selected stores and will be open 09h00 to 16h00 on weekdays.
The testing will be done outside (in the convenience of your car) and therefore there is limited exposure for customers and staff.
Each site is being equipped with protective equipment for staff including face screens, gloves, masks, protective gowns and disposal equipment. Testing is open to anyone and all results will be logged with the NICD.
Tests will be carried out by fully trained registered nurses, the pharmacy group stressed.
The test being used is the same as the one presently utilised by healthcare practitioners and they are carried out exactly as they are at various laboratories, it added.
“The testing process is simple – consumers will be directed to the entrance, then the registration point where completed NICD documentation by the patient will be handed over. After payment of R850, the test will be carried out. Results will be available from 24 to 48 hours after testing.”
Currently Centurion Mall, Olympus, Fourways Mall and Blu Bird Centre (Athol) testing sites are open. All available Dis-Chem drive-through testing sites are listed on Dis-Chem’s website, it said.
Dis-Chem Pharmacies is planning to increase the number of drive-through testing sites over the next few days and is encouraging consumers to check for updated locations.
“In light of the increasing incidence of Covid-19 transmissions, it’s crucial that South Africa can accurately predict the trajectory of this pandemic. With a greater testing capacity comes a truer picture of the spread of the virus in the country and we’re proud to be able to support the health authorities during such a challenging time,” Kruger said.