In this section, we'll talk about setting up the four key components of a mass testing site: sample collection site, control centre, information system, and logistics.


    After identifying a suitable location, the next step is to convert that space into a mass testing site. The priority here is to create a space that is easily navigable and safe for both the staff and the patients.


    Below is a deck showing example layout options for both drive-through and booth testing, the different areas of a testing site, and the staff, materials, and information needed in each area. You can create an editable copy of this deck here.


    The control centre is a call centre where all communication between the organization and the patient takes place. It can be a physical location, but we recommend a remote setup (to facilitate social distancing). In a remote setup, the control centre staff are provided with phones, laptops, internet, and information materials.


    Patient Triage

    Staff triage patients to determine eligibility for testing, based on the organization's or local health authority's criteria. Patients can be directed to call a toll-free number or directed to an online survey for pre-screening.

    Appointment Booking

    Staff book patients eligible patients during available slots and communicate the testing procedures and instructions.

    Answering Patient Enquiries

    Educate patients about COVID-19 and how to prevent the spread of the disease using information from trusted sources such as the WHO and local health authorities.

    Communicating Results

    Deliver test results to patients and give them clear next steps. For patients who test positive, call centre staff also conduct contact tracing to identify others who may be at risk.


    Below is an example training manual for mass testing control centre workers, with special emphasis on empathizing with the patient and responding to difficult questions. You can also make your own editable copy here.


    Below are example scripts for how a call centre worker might deliver the news about a patient's COVID-19 result, both positive and negative. You can also make your own editable copy here.


    The information system will manage patient demographic info, clinical data, and appointment details, as well as general sample collection operations. The information system can be paper-based, electronic, or a hybrid of the two. We have included a sample database template as well as links to some free and subsidized electronic platforms that could help manage mass testing operations.


    As you will be dealing with sensitive patient information, be sure to comply with your country or state's healthcare data privacy and security regulations when you develop your information system.


    Preview the database template below, and create an editable copy of the database template here.


    In response to COVID-19, many software companies are offering free and subsidized versions of their technology to healthcare organizations. Below are two that we think could be useful to an organization operating a mass testing site in a resource-limited setting. Please let us know if there are others we should include here.

    CommCare is a mobile data collection platform, specifically designed for frontline health workers in low-resource settings. In response to COVID-19, Dimagi is giving pro bono subscriptions for their open-source platform, CommCare, to all COVID-19 response applications through May 2021.

    Smile Identity is a KYC (Know Your Customer) service built for Africa. Their software uses selfies taken on smartphones as biometric representation. Smile Identity is offering free access to all its services for healthcare organizations fighting COVID-19 in Africa.


    The logistics component handles the movement of the samples from the mass testing site to the molecular lab where the samples are processed. This can be managed in-house or outsourced to a third-party logistics provider. When selecting a logistics option, remember that the lab that you are working with and your local health authorities will likely have specific requirements around are how samples are transported. For example, here is a document from the United States CDC on "Specimen Labeling, Storage & Handling". Below are some things to consider as you set up logistics for your sample collection site.


    In-House or Outsourced

    Do you have the resources and expertise to transport samples using in-house logistics, or do you need to outsource logistics to a third-party provider?

    Vehicle Type

    What type of vehicle makes the most sense for sample transport (e.g. car versus motorcycle) given the local road infrastructure, local regulations, and sample volume to be transported?

    Sample Storage & Handling Requirements

    What requirements do the molecular lab and local health authorities have around sample packaging and transport? Do you have all the materials and systems needed to transport samples safely from the collection site to the lab and ensure that the samples remain viable (e.g. maintain required temperature)?

    Transport Capacity

    Based on estimated testing volumes, how many batches of samples will need to be transported each day, and what is the batch size?

    Sample Transport Data

    How will you link your logistics service to your information system to track which samples are transported in which batch? What systems does the molecular lab have to confirm receipt of samples?

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