As cases of the novel coronavirus continue to rise in Massachusetts, lines for COVID-19 tests appear to be growing longer in many communities. But a North Shore ambulance company is stepping up to make things more convenient and will start providing in-home tests by appointment.
John Morris, the president of Beauport Ambulance Services in Gloucester, said he got the idea when he had to get tested after returning home from vacation.
"To drive to an urgent care, have to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, walking into a lobby with other sick people so if you have a compromised immune system to be able to stay at home, have us come to you to provide the service. I think it saves everybody a little peace of mind, time and energy," Morris told NBC10 Boston Wednesday.
The test takes a few minutes to set up and just a few seconds to administer. It costs $175 and results come back in 2 to 3 days, Morris said. It will be available to people in eight communities on the North Shore: Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Rowley and Wenham.
Area residents said they would take advantage of the in-home testing option.
"I would for the convenience and I would for the convenience of having my elderly mother take it," Eric Parillo said.
Sarah Clary would take advantage as well as she said she is concerned about her health and the health of people she cares for.
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"I have COPD and I'm a CNA. I can't take care of elderly people like that and it's been very frustrating and very long so the least amount of problems I may incur the better," Clary said.
For those who have already experienced long COVID-19 testing lines, they also said they would take advantage of the new option.
"I've been to a test. It took me a couple of hours. They offered it free in Gloucester which was very nice. It went very well, it just took a while," North Shore resident Thomas Mailey said.
The new mode of testing comes as Gloucester reports a significant rise in COVID-19 cases in the past week, according to Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken and Public Health Director Karin Carroll.
Since Tuesday, the city reported 32 new positive cases of the virus - the highest rate of new daily cases since the pandemic began, city officials said in a statement Wednesday. There has been a total of 624 cases of the virus and 26 deaths since the start of the pandemic, officials said.
Beauport Ambulance Services has already received dozens of calls from people interested in the home tests. They plan to roll out the service on Dec. 7.