Vilnius Ready to Collect Samples for Coronavirus Testing: Drive-in Stations Installed
Through the efforts of municipality, as soon as tomorrow, two of the three planned drive-in coronavirus testing stations are to start operating in Vilnius city.
When presenting the infrastructure of the first drive-in station in Savanorių Avenue, Vilnius city mayor Remigijus Šimašius noted that it is one of the ways to increase the number of samples taken for coronavirus testing and provide people with the opportunity to do that in a convenient and safe manner.
“I am delighted to finally be able to do what most probably should have been done much earlier as it is evident that the scope of samples taken so far is insufficient. I have been speaking for a week about the reasons for which the World Health Organisation recommends that countries do as many tests as possible. This is because if a person is diagnosed with coronavirus, another mechanism shall be launched: in such case, we need to find out which places the person went to, with whom s/he communicated; in this way, the circle of people who must be tested also expands,” Mr Šimašius said. “It is important to make sure that the cases of infection are not brought to Lithuania from abroad and that the virus does not spread within our country, that is from person to person. To prevent the virus from spreading, we need more than one measure to be put in use. One of them is the possibility for people to be tested in places like this drive-in.”
Povilas Poderskis, Director of Administration of Vilnius City Municipality, noted that these drive-ins are not designed for those who would like to have a test done “just in case”.
“I want to emphasise that nobody is to test anyone without a special registration. For this reason, we hope that there will be no queues or congestions in these three drive-ins,” Mr Poderskis said. “It is estimated that one drive-in would be capable of taking about 100 samples. Vilnius city municipality is looking for the possibility to purchase reagents to make the testing possible not only in Santara Clinics but also in Antakalnis outpatient health care institution (Antakalnio poliklinika).
The first drive-in is installed in one of the “Park and Ride” (“Statyk ir važiuok”) parking lots at Savanorių pr. 124; the second is to open tomorrow and will be located in the “Park and Ride” (“Statyk ir važiuok”) parking lot at Gerulaičio 1 g. opposite the business centre Technopolis. If necessary, the third drive-in will be installed in a parking lot near the 1st beach in Valakampiai.
The locations for drive-ins were chosen taking into consideration the requirements of the Ministry of Health: there shall be no residential buildings, markets, shops, health care institutions, bus stops, and any other places of mass gathering in the vicinity, and the territory must be as big as to not disturb traffic, to allow vehicles to easily access a drive-in and to avoid queues of more than 30 cars.
Specially fitted school buses will serve as drive-in stations in Vilnius. After use, they will be disinfected according to the strictest requirements. Medical specialists working here will have all the possibilities required for filling in documents and collecting samples. The next shift will take the samples to the test centres. Patient movement to drive-in stations will be regulated by traffic signs and marked lanes, there will be security specialists to help; later members of the Riflemen’s Union might join.
A team of three specialists will work in a drive-in station at a time; the teams will change every four hours. A team will be composed of a general care nurse or any other health care specialist who has the right to take samples according to the requirements for competence specified in the National Medical Standard, a coordinator and an assistant.
Who will be tested?
Samples in drive-ins will be taken strictly following the established procedure and only with a specialist’s referral. A referral may be asked for, if a person has symptoms typical of an acute respiratory infection, namely, fever, cough or aggravated breathing, and if such symptoms show within a period of 14 days after returning from any foreign country or after a contact with a confirmed or suspected COVID-19 (coronavirus infection) case.
What to do?
In such case, a person should call the hotline at 1808. A consultant will evaluate the provided details and will decide, whether the person should be tested. If so, the patient will be contacted by a coordinator of a drive-in station who will specify the address and time the person should arrive. Patients must be ready to provide personal details, including their personal identification code.
Please draw your attention to the fact that you cannot arrive at a drive-in station by taxi or public transport. You should drive your own car or ask your family for help. Transportation can be also provided by the municipality. (Nose and throat) samples for tests will be taken with the patients on-board.
Persons going to drive-ins should have their ID documents and prepare a sheet of paper with their mobile phone number written on it (placed in a car as directed by a coordinator) so that the persons could be identified by a phone call.
After samples are taken, patients should return home and wait for the result of this free test. Patients will be informed of the test results within 24 hours by a phone call made by a coordinator. The duty of self-isolation for 14 days after the arrival in Lithuania or after the last contact with a person infected with coronavirus shall remain in effect in any case.
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