UPDATE : Monday, August 3, 2020
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‘Fast testing facilities need safety check’ 
  • By Kim Eun-young
  • Published 2020.04.17 15:59
  • Updated 2020.04.20 12:58
  • comments 0

Korea has come up with various ideas of testing the new coronavirus in separated facilities quickly, but they need a more thorough evaluation of safety, a medical report said.

The local medical community introduced a drive-through, walk-through, and globe-wall type of fast screening facilities for Covid-19 testing.

Professor Kym Sung-min at the Division of Infectious Diseases of Chungnam National University Hospital published the report, “Fast Screening Systems for COVID-19,” in the international Journal of Korean Medical Science on Tuesday.

A walk-through testing facility at H-plus Yangji Hospital in Seoul (Credit: H-plus Yangji Hospital)

According to Kym, the drive-thru screening system shortened the time of the entire screening process (registration, questionnaire, examination, specimen collection, and instructions) to 10 minutes from 30 minutes per one person. The method saved the medical workforce and consumption of personal protective equipment but was only available to individuals who had a car, he noted.

The nation also introduced the walk-thru system to test people without a car. It does not have to secure an ample space, either. By installing a negative pressure booth, the walk-thru screening facility separates doctors from patients to reduce the transmission risk. The walk-thru offers the same benefits as the drive-thru, but the walk-thru costs about 2.8 million won ($2,298) to 3 million won per booth. It also needs safe and effective disinfection, the report said.

The glove-wall system has medical testers be stationed inside a negative pressured booth, which is the opposite of the walk-thru. Although the glove-wall facility requires minimal protective gear for examiners, it is expensive, and disinfection issues still exist, the report said.

Kym noted that there had been no proven case of an individual contracting Covid-19 from the fast screening process. Still, people need to evaluate the possibility of a Covid-19 patient infecting medical workers. For example, hospitals could run PCR tests on the booth and protective gear for medical examiners immediately after specimen collection from confirmed patients, he said.

Also, hospitals should consider an outdoor setting at well-ventilated spaces for collecting specimens, just like they do so to collect the sputum for pulmonary pneumonia or pneumonic plague when a negative pressure booth is not available, the report said.


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