Drive Up Testing Site To Open In East Hampton

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A new drive-through coronavirus testing site will open in East Hampton on Friday, May 15.
East Hampton Town Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc announced last week that his office, Village Trustee Barbara Borsack and the East Hampton Healthcare Foundation had negotiated the creation of a diagnostic testing site with Hudson River Health Care, which is operating several drive-through testing sites in Suffolk County, including one in Southampton Village. The Foundation will underwrite the program.

The testing will be available Wednesdays and Fridays, beginning May 15, by appointment only.

The drive-up site will be located at the Pantigo Road Little League ballfields parking lot. Tests will be available for those with COVID-19 symptoms, or those who have been in contact with a COVID-19 positive patient, or workers deemed eligible for testing by New York State, including healthcare workers, first responders and essential employees who interact directly with the public.

Those wondering if they qualify may visit the state health department website, www.health.ny.gov, to view the full list of eligible workers.

Insurance will be accepted, but uninsured individuals may be tested for free. Bilingual staff will be on hand and the tests offered regardless of immigration status.

“The local availability of COVID-19 diagnostic testing will help us to stop the spread of the virus within our community and move us closer to a safe reopening of our economy,” Mr. Van Scoyoc said in statement.

He noted that a Suffolk County program to hire and train hundreds of “contact tracers” to help identify others potentially exposed to coronavirus by someone who tests positive so that they may isolate themselves could also prevent further spread.

“As we continue to actively adapt our response to COVID-19, pop-up testing remains important for the added protection of patients and staff,” said Anne Kauffman Nolon, CEO of HRHCare. “We will continue expanding our response to the pandemic until we prevail, for the sake of our patients and our communities.”

A drive-up site was opened by HRH in Southampton Village on April 30, also with the help of privately-raised funding. It offers testing at the health clinic on Old Town Road on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

With county and state efforts to establish South Fork testing sites lagging, Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren and Dr. Peter Michalos of the Hampton Health Society collaborated to find private funding for a local site.

Announcing the new site, Mr. Warren lauded the team effort that went into its creation. Stony Brook Southampton Hospital offered its property, Village Police have undertaken traffic and security tasks, and Suffolk County is providing educational materials to those who come by.

Hamptons Health Society raised $20,000 in local donations in order to help fund the operation of the testing facility and provide free testing to any uninsured resident in need of financial assistance.

HRHCare is testing at most of its health centers throughout the county. Including Southampton, Riverhead, and other sites opening soon, HRHCare is also operating 12 pop-up testing sites throughout its network.

Last Thursday, Ms. Nolon, along with Hudson River Health Care Chief Operating Officer Allison Dubois visited the Southampton site, meeting Mr. Warren and Dr. Michalos in person for the first time. The initial endowment covered the cost of testing for the first weeks of May. On Thursday, Dr. Michalos wrote another check and gave it directly to Ms. Dubois to extend the testing into June.

“The generosity of this community has been really tremendous,” she said.

“Pop-up testing is a critical part of our community response against COVID-19 and is important for the added protection of patients and staff. We will continue expanding our response to the COVID-19 pandemic until we prevail, for the sake of our patients and our communities,” Ms. Nolon offered in a statement announcing the site’s opening in April. Last Thursday, she, too, commented on the community’s generosity and thanked Dr. Michalos and Mr. Warren for their proactive effort.

“We want to be part of a safety net caring for people,” she said. “Popup sites allow us to maximize testing,” Ms. Dubois added.

County Legislator Bridget Fleming also stopped by to meet the HRH administrators, saying the community effort was to be commended. She offered particular praise for the “important and humane” aspect of the initiative that provides funding for the tests for the uninsured and needy.

Sites in East Hampton and Southampton may help the region meet one of the seven metrics recommended by the federal Centers for Disease Control in order for a region to consider lifting business restrictions.

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