Ledge Light Health District, covering towns in the New London region, is working to make COVID-19 testing more accessible. The health district is teaming up with lab company SEMA4 to, once again, bring no appointment COVID testing directly to communities.
“We hope this is an accessible option for folks," said Jennifer Muggeo, deputy director at LLHD. "You don't have to go online, you don't have to have internet connection, you don't have to know what your schedule is three days in advance."
LLHD is hosting a COVID-19 testing clinic in the parking lot of New London's senior center every Friday from noon to5 p.m. They are processing insurance for people who do have insurance. If you do not have insurance, there is no cost to the patient.
"There will be no charge. They will take your information and it will be billed against a federal grant so nobody has any out of pocket expenses coming to get tested," said Muggeo.
Get Connecticut local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC Connecticut newsletters.
The health district planned this testing opportunity several weeks ago when they heard from community members who were struggling to find accessible COVID-19 testing.
After they planned the testing event, the number of COVID cases in the region started to climb.
“With the increasing numbers it becomes even more important," said Muggeo.
The health district encourages anyone to get tested, especially if you are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
Ken Sodder from Mystic got tested at the pop-up site today. He is fully vaccinated, but after being exposed to the virus he decided to get tested just in case.
"I feel fine. It was over a week ago, but just as a precaution I figured I would check this out," said Sodder.
New London County is experiencing a substantial level of community transmission right now, according to the CDC.
The vaccination rate in the city of New London is lagging a bit behind compared to other towns in Connecticut. According to state data, about 54% of residents have received at least one dose of a COVID vaccine.
The Connecticut Department of Public Health is considering rolling out more testing resources. The acting commissioner said they are working to identify towns with lower vaccination rates and higher case rates. They might send more testing resources to those communities.
“Where there aren’t enough testing sites already there where we might want to stand up another community testing site for a short period of time," Dr. Deidre Gifford told NBC Connecticut Monday.
Lawrence and Memorial Hospital, also in New London, has recorded more traffic at their drive-thru testing site. They saw a 40% increase this week compared to the week before.
“We will remain here as long as we are needed," said Nicole Caillouette, director of lab services at L+M.
Ledge Light is hoping to bring weekly testing to Groton as well.
As case numbers continue to climb, Muggeo said a three-pronged approach is needed right now: vaccinations, testing, and masks.
“Masking is very, very important and still effective in helping us break the chain of transmission," said Muggeo.