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Israel launches ingenious zero-exposure Covid-19 test kiosks

Developers offer to share details of new ground-breaking contact-free testing kiosks with health organizations worldwide.

Unique Covid-19 testing kiosks in Israel let testers take samples without putting on expensive and uncomfortable personal protective equipment (PPE).

The booths’ design ensures complete separation between the subject and the sampler, even down to the air they breathe.

Dozens of these units were designed and manufactured by I.M. Segev Industries in collaboration with engineering and medical personnel at Maccabi Health Services, one of the four Israeli national health-maintenance organizations.

HMO members swipe their membership card on a reader attached to the booth so that results are reported directly to their electronic health record.

The Maccabi Covid-19 testing booth ensures zero exposure between patient and tester. Photo courtesy of I.M. Segev

After the oral sample is taken with the worker’s hands enveloped in rubber gloves attached to the unit, the gloves are disinfected. This allows a quick turnaround for the next test.

“We would be happy to share our concept with any health organization worldwide in order to support our shared mission of fighting the Covid-19 virus,” said Ran Sa’ar, CEO of Maccabi.

The Israeli Association of Manufacturers made the connection between Maccabi and I.M. Segev. Additional booths have since been manufactured by I.M. Segev for HMOs Meuhedet and Clalit.

“This is groundbreaking work in the global war against the virus,” said Dvora Hassid, head of Maccabi’s central operations.

The video below shows how the booths are constructed and installed.

Until now, all of Israel’s Covid-19 testing has been carried out by Magen David Adom (MDA) in a variety of venues, including at home and at drive-through testing centers.

The Israel Defense Force (IDF) Technology and Logistics Division created a mobile lab for MDA containing six testing booths similar to those created by I.M. Segev for Maccabi.

The IDF Technology and Logistics Division produced this contact-free testing booth for the Leumit HMO. Photo courtesy of IDF Spokespersons Unit

“The booths are built with negative-pressure conditions, which enables the teams to not use full protection gear and reduces the usage of gear,” a commander overseeing the project tells ISRAEL21c.

Most of the testing responsibility is now shifting to the HMOs, which led to increased demand for this innovative solution.

“Following the MDA project, a number of national health insurance providers turned to the IDF to produce similar booths for them,” the commander explains.

“We have created a single booth, mobile or fixed, according to their preference, in order to assist them and enable them to test potential patients as well. We deliver per request.”

Hugging booths

Contact-free coronavirus testing booth made for Maccabi HMO. Photo courtesy of I.M. Segev

Miri Fenigson, vice president of business development I.M. Segev, a family-owned urban furniture manufacturer in Yavneh founded in 1977, tells ISRAEL21c that the phone is ringing off the hook due to international interest in the contact-free testing booths spurred by media attention in France, Italy, Germany, the United Kingdom, the US, and China.

In addition, Israel’s Ministry of Defense is interested in producing its standalone units on a large scale.

Fenigson also revealed a new and heartwarming use for contact-free kiosks in the coronavirus age: “hugging booths” now under development for the national organization representing about 300 elder-care institutions.

The hugging booths will employ the same safeguards as the testing booths. Offering embraces rather than swabs, they are meant to ease loneliness for residents unable to be in physical contact with their families.

About the Author:

Abigail Klein Leichman is a writer and associate editor at ISRAEL21c. Prior to moving to Israel in 2007, she was a specialty writer and copy editor at a major daily newspaper in New Jersey and has freelanced for a variety of newspapers and periodicals since 1984.

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