As drive-through COVID-19 testing centers pop up across the nation, Massachusetts’ Atrius Health has opened up a number of testing centers in the Commonwealth, including one in the Fenway. These testing centers reduce the risk of spreading the virus, as testers don protective equipment, and ill people stay in their vehicles and away from the public.
In a combination effort between many different departments of Atrius Health and led in part by Sean Barwis, Director of the Urgent Care and Ambulatory Program, three sites went live last Monday and by Friday, six were open. Aside from the Fenway location, Atrius Health also has drive-through sites in Braintree, Norwood, Peabody, Somerville, and Wellesley.
“It really took a village of people to basically rapidly learn the swabbing procedures and safety protocols and donning protective equipment, masks, gowns, gloves, all of that,” Barwis said.
“It’s been tremendous,” he continued. “There’s a lot of support from the community as well.”
He said that right now, about 30 people per day are being tested at the Fenway location.
These particular drive-throughs are for Atrius Health patients only, and those patients can only be tested after speaking with call center staff who will determine if a person meets the clinical protocols for testing. “It’s not a drive-up free testing facility,” Barwis said. However, once cleared to be tested, patients will not be charged any fees or co-pays for the test.
Barwis said that when scouting out locations for these facilities, the team had to decide what the best and safest entrance way would be for cars to pull up. At the Harvard Vanguard garage in the Fenway, a portion of the garage was blocked off.
Once approved for testing, patients can drive up, get swabbed, and be on their way. Barwis said that patients are given a sheet on home care, what to expect, and follow-up information.
“It’s been an awesome experience to really work with people,” he said. “This has been an immense community organization effort to get this up and running in this short amount of time. It’s been really awesome to watch.”