• Hospital de Sant Joan begins to test patients with coronavirus in their cars
  • The tests are done by health personnel from a tent outside the hospital

The Sant Joan Hospital in Alicante has started to call in patients for coronavirus tests which are carried out from a tent located in one of the hospital car parks without the need for patients to leave their vehicle.

These tests, called PCR, are currently being performed only on health personnel who have symptoms and on patients who have been referred by their health centre and who meet certain medical criteria, pregnant women or those with a reduced immune system, with symptoms of the disease.

Up until now, several nurses from the hospital have been traveling to patients homes to carry out the tests and collect the samples, so there were barely half a dozen a day. With this new system, introduced by the hospital management, the diagnostic capacity will be increased immensely, as it is now the patients themselves who travel in their vehicles to the hospital, and without getting out of the car sample swabs are taken from their nose and mouth.

On Wednesday fifty people were tested in a system trial, but it is expected that this number will grow in the coming days. Nurses will still travel to the homes of those patients who are not able to make the journey to the hospital themselves.

The samples are then processed by the General Hospital of Alicante within 4 or 5 hours. Positive cases no longer have to be sent to Madrid , to the National Center for Microbiology, for confirmation, unless the patient is serious or it is an abnormal case of the disease.

The community is also awaiting the imminent arrival of rapid tests, similar to those used to diagnose influenza, and which provide a result in about 15 minutes. Central government has already acquired the first tests and is waiting for them to be distributed by the autonomous communities. Initially, it is said that these tests will be used for those with mild symptoms of the disease.