With Massachusetts being buffeted by coronavirus-related closures and the statewide caseload nearly topping 200, drive-through testing for the virus is being provided to patients at a community college on Cape Cod, authorities said Monday.
Cape Cod Healthcare, in conjunction with the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, is providing the service to patients with a doctor’s order, which must come from a doctor within the company’s health system. The service started Monday, according to a joint press release from both organizations.
Testing will be held at Cape Cod Community College, located at 2240 Iyannough Rd. in West Barnstable, initially from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, officials said. No co-pays will be charged for the test.
In order to receive the testing, patients must be screened for Covid-19, which is the disease caused by coronavirus, by a Cape Cod Healthcare clinical care provider, and receive a doctor’s order and appointment for testing. Covid-19 symptoms include fever, coughing, or shortness of breath. Anyone experiencing such symptoms should contact their primary care provider to be screened for Covid-19, according to Cape Cod Healthcare and county officials. Anyone on the Cape who does not have a primary care provider is encouraged to call an urgent care center.
“These testing capabilities will allow Cape Cod Healthcare to address a critical need to identify and slow the spread of Covid-19 in our community,” said Michael Lauf, who is the company’s president and CEO, in a statement. “This is an unprecedented public health issue and it requires the attention and support of the entire community.”
Those without a doctor’s order or appointment will be turned away from the testing site at Cape Cod Community College “without exception,” authorities said.
Patients are being instructed to, at their designated appointment time, drive to the main entrance of the community college and follow signs to the testing lot.
The patient will remain in the car, present a photo ID, and receive a nasal swab by a nurse who has donned “personal protective equipment," authorities said.
The patient will receive discharge instructions for self-quarantine once testing is complete, according to officials.
Samples from the location, will be sent to state public health officials or a commercial testing facility, depending on the patient’s symptoms. Results are expected to be available between one and three business days. All results, whether positive or negative, will be reported to the patient.
Patients who have been tested will also receive a daily check-in call by a public health nurse until their results are confirmed, according to Cape Cod Healthcare and county officials.
The number of coronavirus cases in Massachusetts rose to 197 on Monday, up from a tally of 164 on Sunday.
In Boston on Monday, the city’s health and human services chief, Marty Martinez, said that as of Monday, about 1,000 people have been tested for the virus statewide.
Martinez stressed that the best way for city residents to get tested is to contact their primary care provider if they’re not feeling well.