A Latvian hospital installed a vending machine that issues COVID-19 tests and it also stores the samples. This comes after the Baltic state turns to automation to help contain the pandemic’s spread.
This vending machine is being considered as first of its kind in the world. “The vending machine has been first installed at the Pauls Stradins Clinical University Hospital in Riga, which is among the 100 planned under a countrywide rollout,” a board of member of the company that built it said. The machine also dispenses PRC swab tests.
The PRC test is done by taking a swab of the throat and nose and testing for the genetic code (RNA) of the virus. Globally, the majority of the tests are performed using this method.
At the end of the when the tests have been retrieved from the vending machine, a technician comes and collects the tests. The results of the test are available within 24 hours. “You need only saliva, you spit in a jar, close it and it’s done,” said doctor’s assistant Dainis Laugalis.
“The device removes the need for two to five medical workers to administer the tests, and it removes any risk of infection,” Didzis Gavars of the E. Gulbja Laboratory in Latvia.
Latvia had vending machines for disposable face masks in railway stations, before this vending machine was introduced. The country currently reports over 23,700 cases and the death toll stands at over 300. The Latvian government has announced the extension of a ‘state of emergency’ to January 11, 2021.