Day Kimball Medical Group will open Windham County's first drive-through COVID-19 testing site on Thursday, April 16.
"This site is targeting ill patients who need a determination: are they COVID positive or not, should they be quarantined," explained Gerald Sullivan, MD, family medicine physician, with the Day Kimball Medical Group. "If we can get that information for them and out to their providers quickly, then that is going to improve their care and hopefully help their outcome."
The drive-thru collection site will be located at the Killingly Intermediate School. The collection site will be open from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Weekend hours may be added based on need, according to a press release from Day Kimball Healthcare.
Sullivan said that the testing site will compliment testing that has already been taking place in the northeast corner of the state. He estimates about 550 COVID-19 tests have been processed through the Day Kimball lab, with patients coming from both the emergency department and doctor's offices.
"It is not that we have not had access to testing," said Sullivan.
According to Sullivan, the community testing site is designed to centralize the testing to one location and prepare for a potential surge of symptomatic people in the region.
"I think this is being prepared in a timely fashion because up until this point in time a test site has really not been needed," said Sullivan.
Windham County has lagged behind the rest of the state in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19. Sullivan estimates that numbers of confirmed cases in the county will increase moving forward, not because of an increase in testing, but because of the way the virus is known to spread.
Criteria for testing will not change with the new site. The system will still not test people who are not showing symptoms.
"This is not come in and get your COVID-19 test kind of thing," said Sullivan.
Only patients who have been evaluated by a healthcare provider for COVID-19 symptoms and who have a prescription order from their physician may be tested at the drive-up collection site, according to a press release.
Sullivan said that no one will leave their vehicle to get tested and no tests or materials will be brought inside the school.
According to the Town Manager of Killingly Mary Calorio, Killingly Intermediate School has been used for emergency plans before and it will be helpful for the entire region.
"Killingly Intermediate School is on major roadways which are very accessible to the public and to our surrounding communities as well," said Calorio.
The site will start testing about 20-30 patients a day with the ability to increase capacity moving forward if needed.