Drive-thru Easthampton COVID test site transitioning to kiosk

  • The Millside Park COVID-19 testing site will be transitioning from a drive-through format to a —EMILY THURLOW

Staff Writer
Published: 5/18/2022 8:17:20 PM
Modified: 5/18/2022 8:15:34 PM

EASTHAMPTON — The drive-thru COVID-19 testing site at Millside Park is transitioning to a walk-up service via a kiosk starting Thursday.

The transition comes as the city’s Parks and Recreation Department will begin to use the park more for summer events such as the Arts in the Park concert series held on Friday nights, according to Health Director Bri Eichstaedt.

“We need the parking lot back for these summer events,” Eichstaedt said. “It’s really exciting to still be able to offer this testing since we’re still dealing with COVID-19.”

Through a partnership with California-based health services firm Curative, the city Health Department began offering free polymerase chain reaction (PCR) COVID-19 testing in December. With the inundation of walk-ins, the site needed to switch to appointment-only and then moved from locations inside Eastworks and the Municipal Building to Millside Park in January.

To maintain the site at the park, Eichstaedt said the city used funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The funding supported keeping a portable toilet on site as well as setting up a tent, heating it during the colder months and using air conditioning during the warmer months. However, funding for that grant ends on July 1, she said.

“Since there has been a decreased need across the nation for testing sites, this works out well for us and it’s a more self-sufficient site that will not cost us (the city) a thing,” she said.

At some of the higher points in the pandemic, the city was testing up to 250 people per day, according to Eichstaedt. As of late, the number varies between 35 and 80 per day.

The kiosk has been set up at the entrance to the park on 2 Ferry St. and will be staffed with someone from Curative to continue offering the free testing.

Eichstaedt noted that appointments are no longer required, but are still preferred.

To book an appointment for the Millside Park location, visit book.curative.com/sites/34189.

To search all available Curative sites, including in Holyoke and Westfield, visit curative.com.

Emily Thurlow can be reached at ethurlow@gazettenet.com.

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