To meet the NSW aim of ≥ 8,000 COVID-19 tests per day, Local Health Districts (LHDs) should strive to maintain a daily testing rate of ≥ 100 people per 100,000 population.
Pop-Up, Drive-Through and Mobile Van COVID-19 Screening Clinics can be rapidly established to promote testing within the community and increase local testing capacity. This document provides guidance on how to establish Pop-Up, Drive-Through, or Mobile Van COVID-19 Screening Clinic safely and efficiently during the COVID-19 response and also related pathology services.
These guidelines recognise that individual facilities and LHDs will need to tailor their response to local patterns of disease and available resources.
NSW Health acknowledges that due to rapid inception, there has not been an approved naming convention for COVID-19 related clinics. For the purposes of this document, the following definitions apply:
The objectives of establishing a Drive-Through, Pop-Up or Mobile Van COVID-19 Screening Clinic include:
Goal: The NSW community has sufficient access to COVID-19 testing.
Establishing a Drive-Through, Pop-Up or Mobile Van COVID-19 Screening Clinic can provide increased collection/swabbing capacity to areas of need, and promote access in areas with low testing rates.
The key questions below provide guidance as to whether a new COVID-19 Screening Clinic may be required. If you answer ‘yes’ to any of the below questions, the establishment of a Drive-Through, Pop-Up or Mobile Van COVID-19 Screening Clinic should be considered.
Goal: Drive-through, pop-up or mobile van COVID-19 screening clinics are located on a safe and easily accessible site.
The officer responsible will need to determine the suitability of the proposed COVID-19 Screening Clinic location to ensure the site is both safe and easily accessible.
If it is determined that a location may be suitable for a Pop-Up, Drive-Through and Mobile Van COVID-19 Screening Clinic, a clinic checklist should be completed to ensure other relevant factors have been considered prior to set-up. An example checklist has been provided in
Conditions at the selected site may also change and it is important that the site is checked daily for new hazards. The chosen site should be monitored and checked daily for any environmental changes.
If you have further questions about the suitability of a location, please contact the SHEOC Operations team via email at
The key questions below should be considered when determining the suitability of the site. If you answer ‘no’ to any of the below questions, alternate arrangements should be considered e.g. consider portable toilet hire if restrooms are not provided.
Appendix 1: Example – NSLHD Testing Clinic Checklist
Goal: Traffic is safely and effectively managed when entering, whilst on site and when exiting the clinic. Mobile and Pop-Up clinics minimise the impact on other road users and the wider community.
The health and safety of staff and patients in the COVID-19 Screening Clinic is of vital importance. Traffic management is site specific and needs individual attention to determine the best layout including flow, entry points, exit points and overflow areas. Clinics on road related areas, including private property car parks, remain subject to RTA road rules and traffic should be managed accordingly.
The officer responsible should ensure local Standard Operating Practices (SOPs) have been developed for each site. These will depend on the anticipated demand, size and location of the site and should be developed in consultation with the Local Council, NSW Police and NSW Roads and Traffic Management.
If the projected throughput of cars is expected to be high, consideration should also be given to employing a traffic controller. Please note the holder of this role must have completed the TAFE Traffic Controllers course to comply with legislation. A Site Supervisor may also be needed depending on site assessment.
If you require additional support or advice regarding traffic management and flow, please contact the SHEOC Operations team via email at MOH-JasminCovid19Ops@health.nsw.gov.au.
The key questions below should be considered when developing a traffic management plan. If you answer ‘no’ to any of the below questions, ensure appropriate strategies are implemented so these are addressed.
Goal: COVID-19 Screening Clinics are run safely and efficiently
The officer responsible will need to ensure clinic governance is established and communicated.
For any patient that deteriorates, local emergency protocols should be activated and 000 should be called. For clinics located on hospital sites, patients who are safe to transfer to ED by wheelchair should be done promptly with an escort and porter. Ambulance staff must be informed that the patient requires droplet/contact precautions for transport. If an aerosol producing procedure needs to be performed suctioning airborne and contact precautions must be used.
The SHEOC Operations Team is the central coordination point for NSW Health COVID-19 clinics. To ensure oversight of clinics across NSW and effective management of supplies, consumables and logistics, communicate the establishment, variation or closure of any clinics to the SHEOC Operations team via email at
MOH-JasminCovid19Ops@health.nsw.gov.au. Once notified, these changes will be made to the public
NSW Health COVID-19 Clinics webpage.
On the occasion of a positive COVID-19 patient being identified, an LHD/SHN may be requested to establish a time limited clinic within 24 hours to support existing COVID-19 services. In these instances the Chief Health Officer (CHO) will contact the Chief Executive of the LHD/SHN/NSWHP with a request for a service to be established.
If the LHD/SHN/NSWHP requires support to provide this service within the timeframe indicated by the CHO, the LHD/SHN/NSWHP is to contact the SHEOC via
MOH-JasminCovid19Ops@health.nsw.gov.au. NSW Health has engaged St John’s Ambulance NSW to provide adjunct staffing and equipment to facilitate rapid clinic set up by LHD/SHNs. The request form is included in
The Key Questions below should be considered when developing or enacting governance processes for COVID-19 Screening Clinics. If you answer ‘no’ to any of the below questions, governance processes should be reviewed.
NSW Health Pathology will provide testing services to NSW Health clinics unless otherwise arranged.
NSW Health Pathology is to be contacted prior to the establishment of a clinic to discuss and confirm service provision. This is to ensure swab supply and laboratory capacity can be managed by NSW Health Pathology.
The following information should be provided
prior to clinic set up to
Appendix 3: Request for St John’s Ambulance Australia (NSW) COVID-19 support service.
Goal: For all staff to be orientated to site and perform their duties safely and within scope of practice.
The officer responsible will need to determine that all staff working in the Drive-Through, Pop-Up or Mobile Van are oriented to the site prior to commencing, and that the skill mix is adequate to ensure effective clinic operation.
The key questions below should be considered for safe and effective management of clinic staff. If you answer ‘no’ to any of the below questions, staff management processes should be reviewed.
Goal: Provide COVID-19 testing in a culturally safe manner in a range of formats.
COVID-19 testing is a core strategy in limiting the spread of COVID-19 in the NSW population. It is vital that all parts of the population have the opportunity to access testing when appropriate. With regards to COVID-19 testing, vulnerable populations may include paediatrics, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, people from ‘culturally and linguistically diverse' (CALD) backgrounds and those who may have mobility issues or other special needs.
While children appear to be less commonly and less severely affected by COVID-19 than adults, it is important that children that are unwell (particularly with a fever) are assessed for other potentially serious illnesses.
The key questions below should be considered to support COVID-19 testing for vulnerable populations. If you answer ‘no’ to any of the below questions, ensure appropriate strategies are implemented so these are addressed.
Goal: The clinic has clear signage indicating the clinic location and instructions for clinic users whilst on site. Patient education and follow up information is given to each testing recipient.
The officer responsible will need to ensure planning of appropriate signage to indicate the location of the clinic, flow of vehicle and pedestrian traffic, and any other relevant information. Depending on the needs of the local community, signage in alternate languages should also be considered. Signage should be weatherproof and secured to objects with consideration of WH&S principals.
Prior to the set-up of a Drive-Through, Pop-Up or Mobile Van, communication should be provided to the local community with an identified contact for any enquiries. A sample letter of notification to community (which should include clinic duration, days and time) has been provided in
If further assistance is required in regards to communication strategies or resources, please contact the SHEOC Operations team:
The key questions below should be considered when developing and publishing communication or signage. If you answer ‘no’ to any of the below questions, ensure appropriate strategies are implemented so these are addressed.
Goal: Clinics and clinic staff have adequate access to identified resources and resupply pathways and are aware of escalation pathways.
The officer responsible will need to determine the anticipated demand for stock and the logistics for safe storage and re-supply. Staff working on site should be familiar with the location of stock and stock ordering procedures.
Waste management on site should align with Clinical Excellence Commission (CEC)
Infection Prevention and Control Guidelines for the Management of COVID-19 in Healthcare Settings. Clinical waste should be disposed of in clinical waste streams, all non-clinical waste should be disposed into the general waste stream, and PPE is considered general waste unless contaminated with bulk blood and or body substances.
The key questions below should be considered when developing plans for equipment and waste management. If you answer ‘no’ to any of the below questions, ensure appropriate strategies are implemented so these are addressed.
The key questions below should be considered when documenting and communicating the operational processes of the clinic. If you answer ‘no’ to any of the below questions, ensure appropriate strategies are implemented so these are addressed.
Goal: All patients are informed of isolation requirements post-swab, and how and when they can access their result.
All patients undergoing COVID-19 testing need to self-isolate while they wait for their COVID-19 test result; this may take up to 72 hours.
All positive COVID-19 results will be managed by the NSW Public Health Unit (PHU). Patients who test positive are given priority and their results are reported immediately to the referring doctor and PHU in line with high-risk results procedures.
NSW Health Pathology have developed an SMS system to deliver negative results to patients. Utilisation of the SMS system should be promoted to reduce the time taken to receive results. Please note the SMS registration number may change depending on the location of the clinic.
Patients who test negative do not need to continue isolation unless they have been advised otherwise due recent overseas travel or being identified as a Close Contact of a COVID-19 case.
For LHD-run clinics, decisions regarding testing prioritisation are made by the NSW Ministry of Health in response to clinical and public health imperatives, including early detection in vulnerable communities such as aged care facilities, remote Aboriginal communities and where testing is required to maintain essential services.
Details of how to expedite testing within these remits are available on the
NSW Health Pathology webpage.
The key questions below should be considered for patients post-swab. If you answer ‘no’ to any of the below questions, ensure appropriate strategies are implemented so these are addressed.
Completed(tick / cross)
Public Health Unit (PHU) to provide data on screening numbers in Local Government Areas (LGA's)
CE/Executive Team Member to contact LGA and key stakeholders regarding potential clinic sites
Adequate space for two to three registration tables out the front of the site building or inside with adequate social distancing
Three to four swabbing nurses
Logistics and Inventory Coordinator
One to two ICT staff for initial clinic set up
Twice daily swab pick-ups performed by Nursing and Midwifery (12pm and 3pm) or as negotiated with Pathology North by Director Nursing and Midwifery
Pathology request forms printed by Nursing and Midwifery team
Information sheets for patients SMS results information and registration forms
NAP location created/assigned and provided by Performance Team
Miscellaneous items as required e.g. First Aid Kits, clocks, timers, stationery
Ministry advised of new sites for Ministry website and intranet updating
Corporate Communications order and supply Frames and Canvases
* Consult COVID-19 guidance on use of personal protective equipment (PPE) in non-inpatient health care settings, during the COVID-19 outbreak
The governing principle for the SLHD COVID-19 Drive Through Clinics it to provide an efficient and effective process for members of the community to access screening and where appropriate testing for COVID-19. This is accomplished by ensuring that we have a traffic management plan that ensures a safe pathway for vehicles to process through the clinic. That systems are in place to cater for quick and efficient registration process that covers both live registration and down-time registration pathways and we have plans and process to deal with surge situations. It is essential for the eMR team to build a location for the Drive through and ICT to install a network enabled printer in order to print MRN labels and pathology forms.
Two models are available with ability to quickly switch between each as the demand and capability dictates.
Business as Usual model: Live registration and processing of people through the eMR system.
Surge and downtime model: Use of downtime MRN with subsequent registration and pathology ordering through the eMR.
Surge and downtime registration
NB: Process order may vary slightly at each site, but all persons must be screened and registered on eMR with the minimum details documented as follows:
This checklist is to assist managers to orientate new staff to the SLHD COVID-19 Drive-Through Clinics.
COVID-19 notification of testing site - Community flyer
Copies of SLHD drive-thorugh procedure
Laptops x 3-4 (return to Sue McGrady SLHD Disaster Unit when site deactivated)
Mobile Phones x 2 (return to Sue McGrady SLHD Disaster Unit when site deactivated)
COVID-19 infection is uncommon in children and usually mild. Parents worried about their children should be encouraged to present to their GP or an emergency department, irrespective of having had a COVID-19 swab collected. There is a risk of serious illness being missed if families are falsely reassured by having had COVID-19 swabs taken. If a child presenting for a swab looks unwell or the parent / operator is worried, call an ambulance.