Unless you’ve lived under a rock or in the Big Brother house for the last month, you’ve witnessed COVID-19 blanket the globe. Serious times call for serious measures, which is why millions of Americans have followed WHO’s pandemic guidelines and opted to avoid crowds for now. Social distancing is an excellent way to slow the spread of the virus, but widespread testing is necessary.

Now, Coronavirus drive-thru testing locations are popping up across the country – including some right here in South Florida – allowing people to get tested without leaving the car. If you’re one of those people, here are some tips and bits of advice to help you drive through the SARS-CoV-2 testing line.

Please note that we are not healthcare experts. For any matters of urgency regarding possible COVID-19 illness, you must call your doctor, local hospital or 911.


Call First

Coronavirus drive-thrus aren’t like fast-food chains’; you likely need to call ahead to confirm an appointment or request approval from your primary care physician to get tested. Those in South Florida who suspect that they may have COVID-19 should contact their physician or the Florida Department of Health at 866-779-6121 for more details.

If you’re told to get tested for COVID-19, contact that facility directly. During your call, you’ll be asked general screening questions to determine your eligibility. Explain your symptoms, age and any underlying conditions that would prompt you to seek medical care.


Do You Meet the Guidelines?

As of March 2020, due to test-kit shortages, people must meet the CDC requirements to be eligible for a Coronavirus test. Patients must:

  • have traveled to a high-risk country or location within the last 14 days; or
  • have been in contact with an individual who has tested positive for COVID-19; and
  • be experiencing Coronavirus symptoms, including fever, cough and shortness of breath.

Additionally, most mobile COVID testing centers are requiring that patients have a doctor’s referral and set up an appointment in advance. However, as more of these local Coronavirus testing sites are set up, these requirements may change.

Priority testing may be given to hospital or healthcare workers, first responders, elderly adults, or those with chronic, pre-existing conditions like heart disease, COPD or diabetes.


Prepare for Long Wait Times

In parts of the country, mobile COVID-19 drive-through sites are seeing long lines of vehicles and delays due to shortages. While the time to take the test is relatively short – 15 minutes or less, in most cases – it’s a good idea to plan for a lengthy wait.

  • Arrive early.
  • Ensure you have identification, a doctor’s referral, and insurance information on you.
  • If you have multiple people in your vehicle requiring testing, each may need to have separate identification and doctor’s orders.
  • Kids will want to stay entertained during the wait; a minivan or SUV with a rear entertainment system is a simple solution.
  • Have a bottle or two of water to keep you well-hydrated.
  • It’s unlikely there will be restrooms available, so use the bathroom before you leave home.
  • Keep Clorox® or similar cleaning wipes in your vehicle to sanitize handles, dials, knobs, etc.
  • Use hand sanitizer when handling any ID or insurance cards, or any other item passed to and from healthcare workers.
  • To reduce the possible spread of illness, roll down your window enough to be swabbed (see next section, “Coronavirus Test Expectations”).

Police officers may also be involved to manage traffic and direct people away from the facility if they’re ineligible to be tested per CDC’s guidelines. If you are asymptomatic and not showing any signs of COVID-19 illness, officials state you should not attempt to acquire testing; doing so could interfere with and slow down the process. Instead, self-isolate and continue to monitor yourself for symptoms.


Coronavirus Test Expectations

You do not have to leave your vehicle for your drive-through Coronavirus test. Healthcare workers will take a swab of your throat or nose – this is an uncomfortable yet short procedure – and send it to the lab. Stay calm during your test and the experience should be mild, medical professionals say. Results should be available and reported to you after several days.

As you await your test results, it’s imperative that you consider yourself contagious. Self-isolate at home, away from family, until you receive word from your physician or a healthcare professional.


Be Respectful

Remember: This ordeal is difficult for everyone. Breathe. We’re in this together, and respect is a two-way street – or oftentimes an 8-lane highway – on which we all must coexist. Have respect for your healthcare providers, nursing staff, doctors and other people who are in the same collective boat.

South Florida Honda Dealers Logo

A Message from Your South Florida Honda Dealers

Car dealers all over the country are taking extra precautions during these trying times – sanitizing cars before and after test drives, cleaning door handles and all high-touch points within the showroom, and imploring visitors and employees to wash or sanitize hands frequently – to ensure the safety of everyone. As this chaos unfolds, trust that our South Florida Honda Dealers are supporting and protecting the valued customers and staff at each of our dealerships.

The future may not be known; it is perfectly normal to feel the pangs of uncertainty. However, look past these obstacles and you’ll see light at the end of the tunnel. Our South Florida Honda Dealers will be there, waiting to serve you as we’ve always done. Stay safe, enjoy family and reach out for help if needed.