Drive-thru coronavirus testing sites have continued to open across the U.S. as the number of cases of the virus continues to rise, but the experiences of those in search of testing appear to depend greatly on the sites themselves.
Amy Ensign, of Harrison, New York, took her 11-year-old son, Gavin, to a drive-thru testing center at Greenwich Hospital in Connecticut March 13 after he fell sick.
“We were away for the February break. After we returned, he got sick,” Ensign said of Gavin. “He missed a couple days of school and then got better, and then he got sick again. He had a sore throat and a fever.”
When the strep and flu tests Gavin's pediatrician ran came back negative, the doctor recommended he be tested for the coronavirus, Ensign said. They set an appointment at the drive-thru testing center. Ensign said the testing process was seamless and took around 10 minutes.
“We pulled up and it was like a parking garage with levels. We pulled into the entrance, I rolled my window down and the guard asked if we had an appointment,” Ensign said. “[Gavin] was a little freaked out pulling up. Everyone was in suits and everything. … Then we pulled around to the next tent. A woman in a hazmat suit came out and my son got out of the car.”
Gavin was tested inside the tent. Of his experience, Gavin said the woman who swabbed him was “very nice,” but that the test “really hurt.”
“That was his big takeaway,” Ensign said.
After five days, Gavin received news that his test came back negative.
Some experiences coming out of other testing sites across the U.S. haven’t gone so smoothly. In Houston, cars lined up for a mile outside of the Butler Stadium on the first day of testing last Thursday, Fox 5 News reported.
In Florida, two testing sites opened in Miami-Dade County. One person who visited a site located at C.B. Smith Park told WSVN it was a “disaster” and said she had to wait hours to be tested and leave.
The first testing site in New York opened in New Rochelle March 13, and then two followed on Long Island. One opened on Coney Island on Friday before quickly shutting down. Authorities there encouraged people with mild coronavirus symptoms to stay home and only seek hospitalization if they are very sick, according the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.
New York is one of 10 states using drive-thru testing centers to help provide more testing for its residents.
The CDC has released guidelines about who needs to be tested for the coronavirus and is asking people with mild symptoms to remain at home.
If a person is experiencing severe symptoms, including but not limited to trouble breathing, pressure in the chest, or confusion, they should seek medical care immediately, the CDC said.