South Korean model kiosks used to collect samples from people to test for COVID-19, have been installed in Kerala. Two such sample collection cabins named Walk-in Sample Kiosks (WISK) were installed at the Government Medical College in Ernakulam on Monday.
The WISK, which looks like a glass cabin, is made in such a way that the environment inside it where the medical staff stands, is always sterile. The healthcare professionals in the kiosk can collect throat swabs of people who will stand outside the kiosk.
The kiosks which were used in South Korea to collect samples at a large scale had earlier made news. According to Ernakulam district administration, the model installed in Kochi is one of the first of its kind in India. A hospital in Jharkhand too had set up the same.
The medical staff standing inside the cabin can use the gloves affixed on the kiosk to collect throat swab samples from people sitting outside the chamber. Apart from the gloves, WISK consists of magnetic doors, ultraviolet lights and an exhaust fan.
To collect samples for testing #COVID-19, Kerala sets up South Korean-style kiosks.The kiosks enable easy and cheap sample collection. 2 such kiosks are installed at the Govt Medical College,Ernakulam.â€” Neethu Joseph (@neethujoseph_15) April 6, 2020
Video credit: I&PRD Ernakulam pic.twitter.com/sXFO8z9NeF
The person from whom the sample is collected will be seated just in front of the WISK, holding the container to collect the swab. The medical staff standing inside the WISK will then take the container from the person using the gloves. After collecting the sample, the container will be handed back to the person who in turn will hand it over to another medical staff.
â€śWhat makes WISK special is that sample collection will become more cheap and easy, so that more samples can be collected,â€ť Ernakulam District Medical Officer Dr Kuttappan told TNM.
He also added that by using WISK, fewer Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) kits will be required. â€śAs of now, the medical staff had been using PPE kits while in isolation wards or while collecting samples. But by using WISK, there is no need to use PPE while sample collection, this will greatly reduce the dependence on PPE kits,â€ť said Dr Kuttappan.
The PPE kits which cost about Rs 1,000 per piece cannot be used more than once. Though at present there is no severe shortage of the kits in Kerala, medical staff have raised concerns that if there happens to be a sudden surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, then PPE kitsâ€™ availability will become a problem.
According to officials, each time after the samples are collected, the gloves and the chair on which the person whose samples were collected sat, will be disinfected.
Ernakulam DMO has also said that the kiosks were locally made and that more of them will be installed in the coming days. â€śThere are not many complications to make this, it only takes two days to make one. One WISK costs about Rs 40,000,â€ť he said.