coronavirus testing

Testing Sites Roll Out New Steps To Keep Up With Demand

Dave Palmer / NBC10

The day before and after Thanksgiving could be busy for testing sites around the state. The rush to get a COVID-19 test comes as many people plan on attending small family gatherings on Thanksgiving.

UConn Health is working to keep up with that rush.

"Hospitals and testing sites throughout the state are being pushed and we're working here at UConn health to expand our capacity," said Dr. David Banach, a hospital epidemiologist with UConn Health. "We've known we've had more cases in the community so we have more individuals who are symptomatic who need to get their diagnosis of COVID-19."

The health care system is rolling out several steps to keep with the growing demand.

"We are expanding the number of hours that we're open including weekends and during the week," said Banach. "We're also working to expand our turnaround time and improve that so that people can get their results quicker."

UConn Health has a testing lab on their Farmington campus and they're also working in conjunction with Jackson Labs to get both accurate and timely results.

"People need to have access to testing and we continue to try to provide that," said Dr. Tom Balcezak, chief clinical officer at Yale New Haven Health System. "The challenge for us is really in our ability to secure adequate supplies through the supply chain to make sure that we have uninterrupted access to testing.

Yale New Haven Health system is also seeing a growing demand, especially before Thanksgiving, and they're working to ensure everyone has an opportunity to get tested.

"We have walk-up sites, we have drive-up sites, we also have three vans that are mobile vans that can get into our communities," said Balcezak. "We want to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to get tested and have peace of mind."

Dr. Eric Walsh is the medical director at Hartford Healthcare-Go Health Urgent and told NBC Connecticut that they are ready for those who want a test after the holidays.

"We've made sure that we had every type of test available, everything from antibodies, to PCR test to the best rapid test out there," said Walsh. "We've extended our hours in our centers and we've added staff to make sure that we have ample individuals to be able to run these tests."

Hartford Health Care-GO Health says a lot of planning was done in advance before the demand and will be ready for the future.

"We've done everything that we possibly can to make sure we keep everyone safe including racking up on PPE and essential safety needs," said Walsh. "We're still requiring everyone who comes in and out of our centers to wear a mask and keep a safe distance from one another."

For those who plan on having a gathering with their family, medical experts are asking the public to stay viligent and safe.

"You want to make sure you wash your hands regularly, create space among your family, try to eat outside, and wear your mask," said Banach.

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