Multiple factors, including Thanksgiving travel and gatherings, could explain why lines are so long at covid-19 testing sites

Published on Monday, 23 November 2020 17:02
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Lines remain long as area residents seek to receive coronavirus tests, and the demand may not let up any time soon.

James Cardon, chief integration officer at Hartford Healthcare, said they are expecting a sustained increase and are working to increase access to testing.

“There are multiple factors that are likely increasing demand,” Cardon said. “Overall prevalence of covid-19 has increased, raising concerns about exposure. Mild respiratory symptoms could raise a concern about infection. Thanksgiving travel and gatherings is also a likely driver, but we do not have specific data.”

Monday morning, cars could be seen backed up at the Community Health Center in New Britain. Due to this high demand, not everyone waiting in line will end up being tested, forcing them to return the following day to try again.

“The number of cars in line will be assessed beginning at noon and throughout the early afternoon,” CHC posted on its website. “Lines may close early if demand exceeds our ability to test everyone in line before closing. CHC staff will advise those already in line when capacity for the day has been reached.”

The CHC location in Bristol is also seeing the same type of demand.

“They are now staging cars off of Hope Street to alleviate traffic problems for businesses on Race and Valley Streets,” Bristol Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu said. “The staff administers this PCR test to you, in a drive thru format. They cut off testing after they evaluate how many cars are in line that will take them through to 4:30 p.m.”

Leslie Gianelli, a spokesperson for Community Health Center, told the Associated Press they are trying to keep up with the demand.

“We are adding staff and adding sites and adding hours to try and keep up with the increase in demand,” Gianelli said.

Gianelli also said they are currently looking to hire about 100 additional workers, which would include nurses who can give the tests and administrative support. According to Gianelli, labs are expecting a surge in work, but right now it still takes two to three days to receive results.

Ajay Kumar, MD and chief clinical officer at Hartford HealthCare, said they have been watching the curve move.

“Initially, about two or three weeks ago, I had indicated that we will see some sort of a peak somewhere between the 5th and 7th of December, and right now the modeling has changed a little bit and we’re seeing the peak all the way until mid to late December at this time,” Kumar said.

Kumar said the current models indicate, at some point, the state of Connecticut could reach 1,500-1,600 patients.

“It’s important to understand that we will only reach those numbers with intervention and if we enact the appropriate precautions,” Kumar said. “As a reminder, our current predictive modeling suggests we will face a significant surge in late December and early January, a surge which could exceed what we saw in April. If we are able to change current social behaviors, we can flatten the 2.0 curve.”

Meanwhile, area residents will have to continue to wait in long lines in order to receive a covid-19 test.

Posted in The Bristol Press, Bristol on Monday, 23 November 2020 17:02. Updated: Monday, 23 November 2020 17:04.