Drive-through COVID-19 testing sites prove to be fast, efficient, and safe

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Huntsville Hospital has partnered with Thrive Alabama to open testing sites throughout the community to test for COVID-19 in a safe and efficient way.

A drive-through test site at John Hunt Park in Huntsville has been open for three days and has already tested over 500 patients.

Health care professionals working at the site say that even when it's busy they can test about one patient per minute.

"It's been a really great productive partnership between everyone that's been involved," said Andrea Hirschbuehler, a nurse practitioner for Thrive Alabama.

There's been limited COVID-19 test availability up until recently in the state, and not everyone has easy access to a primary care doctor. Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms can roll up and get tested.

People being screened never have to get out of their car. They pull into one of four separate lanes that are operated by four different testing crews.

"Everyone has an adequate amount of gear, based on your potential exposure to those that are sick," Hirshbuehler said.

A nasopharyngeal specimen is collected. A long swab is inserted into the nasal cavity. Once the specimen is collected, the swab is double-wrapped and sent to a lab in Birmingham for testing.

"They go from here to Birmingham daily," said David Hattaway, an area representative for Assurance Scientific Labs. "We are doing a mammoth job of trying to provide as quick a turn-around as we can."

Most test results are processed within a 24 to 48-hour period.

These medical professionals continue to express the importance of social distancing and staying home as much as you can.

Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms can be tested at this site, but for this clinic in particular you do need to bring your insurance information with you to be tested. If you don't have insurance, you'll be billed later for the test.

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