Rapid, drive-thru COVID-19 testing site opens in Lowell,Massachusetts
LOWELL, Mass. —
Hundreds of people waited in line for hours on Tuesday to be tested at a new rapid drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Lowell.
The site, operated by CVS Health, is offering no-cost testing to Massachusetts residents and will be capable of conducting and processing up to 1,000 tests per day, the city said.
esting is being conducted from the parking lot of Lowell’s Showcase Cinema at 32 Reiss Ave. and accessible from Route 110 and Industrial Avenue.
At the site, patients are handed a swab through the driver’s side window of their vehicles, take their own sample and hand it back to a health care worker in order to minimize the amount of close contact.
Through the use of a recently-FDA-authorized Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 testing machine, which is about the size of a toaster, results from those samples can be produced in in an average of 15 minutes.
“The point-of-care testing, it’s really a game-changer in emerging areas, if you will,” said Emmanuel Kolady, a senior vice president at CVS Health. “There’s such great demand, and the rate-limiting factor is the ability to secure the Abbott machine and the kits.”
Patients who receive a positive COVID-19 test result are given two pages of information about how to care for themselves and what to do if their symptoms get worse. Meanwhile, volunteer disease investigators will then work to find everyone who came in contact with the infected person.
“So if you were then positive, a Partners in Health contact tracer will approach you and talk to you about what you need to do,” said Secretary of Health and Human Services Marylou Sudders.
Massachusetts residents seeking a COVID-19 test at the site are required to pre-register on the CVS Health website. Individuals must be at least 18 years old in order to be eligible for testing and must be symptomatic or part of a vulnerable population in accordance with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention testing criteria.
No walk-up testing will be conducted at the site.
“By working with a wide range of partners, we have dramatically increased Massachusetts’ COVID-19 testing capacity, and we are grateful to CVS for their partnership in launching this new rapid testing site,” Gov. Charlie Baker said. “The continued expansion of testing, along with our new efforts around community tracing, will enable the Commonwealth to better track and slow the spread of this virus.”
CVS Health launched similar testing operations in Rhode Island and Georgia. The company has also operated a drive-thru testing site for first responders in Shrewsbury since March.
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