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86 MDG details new COVID-19 Drive-Thru Testing

A picture of an IDMT writing medical information down.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Maxime Copley, 86th Medical Group independent duty medical technician, writes down patient information in the Ramstein Medical Clinic’s coronavirus disease 2019 screening drive-thru at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 31, 2020. The 86th MDG transformed their main parking lot into a drive-thru to expedite testing and prevent the spread of COVID-19. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater)

A picture of cars driving through a parking lot.

Patients navigate the coronavirus disease 2019 screening drive-thru in the Ramstein Medical Center parking lot at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 31, 2020. Patients are required to call the COVID-19 Hotline before proceeding through the drive-thru. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater)

A photo of medical supplies on a table.

Medical supplies are staged for use at Ramstein Medical Clinic’s coronavirus disease 2019 screening drive-thru at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 31, 2020. Swabs, thermometers, procedural masks, and medicine are among the materials needed for medical technicians to safely treat COVID-19 patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater)

A picture of a medical technician handling medical supplies.

U.S. Air Force Tech. Sgt. Daryl Agni, 86th Medical Group medical technician, handles medical supplies in the Ramstein Medical Clinic’s coronavirus disease 2019 screening drive-thru at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 31, 2020. The drive-thru testing process limits exposure of patients to others, saves on protective equipment and gives patients the convenience of testing from their personal vehicles. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater)

A picture of an IDMT handing materials to an Airman.

U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Maxime Copley, 86th Medical Group independent duty medical technician, right, gives materials to Airman Jordan Gray, 86th dental squadron dental technician, in the Ramstein Medical Clinic’s coronavirus disease 2019 screening drive-thru at Ramstein Air Base, Germany, March 31, 2020. To expedite the testing process, Airmen bring medical materials into the laboratory for testing so medical technicians can focus on attending to patients. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Taylor D. Slater)

RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --

The 86th Medical Group established a coronavirus disease 2019 drive-thru testing process in the Ramstein Medical Clinic parking lot, March 27, giving patients treatment from their own vehicles.

The 86th MDG created the drive-thru process to limit exposure to the community, resolving logistical issues discovered in the initial testing process.

Any patients going through the process are required to call the COVID-19 hotline at DSN 480-9001, or commercially at 06371-47-9001. Once approved, they may proceed to the main parking lot on the medical campus to receive their treatment. All other patients are encouraged to park in the Enlisted Club parking lot to enter the Ramstein Clinic.

The drive-thru process was initially developed as the group came into problems with available testing areas.

“We started to have an increase in demand for testing,” said U.S. Air Force Maj. Kelley Henson, 86th MDG pediatrics flight commander and COVID-19 ops team B lead. “We started being faced with limitations in the building, in terms of how we properly isolate people. Initially, our COVID-19 clinic was in the family advocacy building but they only had four exam rooms in there. We couldn’t see a higher volume of patients in that setting.”

The team also ran into issues with the length of time for testing, Henson explained. Between testing patients, disinfecting the area and preparing for the next patient, the process could not accommodate the demand for testing.

Patients, public and medical providers benefit from the drive-thru testing service as well.

“This decreases the amount of personal protective equipment we have to cycle through because people will not have to change so frequently,” Henson said. “It also contains the family within their own vehicle, so we’re limiting exposure that way.”

The COVID-19 Hotline is available from Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. It is also available on the weekends from 7:30 a.m. to noon.

Patients are advised to stay home if they are sick and to call the COVID-19 Hotline for any questions.

“There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” Henson said. “Give us a call so we can give you the right information based on your particular situation.”