Since the coronavirus outbreak hit New England, officials have voiced concerns about the lack of testing for people who may have been exposed to the virus but are not showing symptoms.
On Saturday, the first testing facility in the state for asymptomatic essential workers opened up at Physician One Urgent Care in Medford. The drive-through facility is important because it is well known that some people who carry the virus do not display symptoms of it but can still transmit it.
The site is part of a statewide effort to ramp up testing after Thursday saw a record 14,600 people tested and about 3,100 new cases confirmed.
The Medford location is intended to quickly test those with COVID-19 symptoms and essential workers who are not showing symptoms but are on the front lines of the pandemic.
“I personally have a husband who is in the healthcare field and a small child so we are under a lot of stress," said Amelia Nadler, a nurse practitioner at Physician One Urgent Care.
Nadler says she's doing okay but that it's her job to take care of others, including essential workers such as first responders, grocery store employees and government workers.
“It’s really important that we are screening our essential personnel so we are protecting our entire community to make sure that we can really sort of squash this," she said.
“We certainly have dealt with a lot of infectious diseases we haven’t seen a pandemic like this,” Physician One CEO Lynne Rosen said.
Rosen says the virus has made them think outside the box to help people safely.
“Patients are scared. And we all are," Nadler said. "This has been a major event in all of our lives."
Results take two to three days to come in, and they say testing is key to get past the surge.
“We’re certainly seeing many more people test positive," Nadler said. "Now some of that may be related to more tests."
Testing began Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Officials believe the facility is able to test up to 200 people a day.
Everyone tested here must first complete an online prescreening. If you feel sick or are an essential worker, head to their website to set up an appointment.
But before anyone can show up, they first must be screened through a virtual visit with a provider, chief medical officer Dr. Jeannie Kenkare said.