New COVID Testing In Wainscott Promises Faster Results

East Hampton Town will offer free COVID-19 testing at the former CDCH building in Wainscott on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

East Hampton Town has opened a new COVID-19 testing site at the former CDCH school building in Wainscott that offers saliva PCR tests and promises results within 24 hours.

The new site, being operated by CareONE Concierge, is to be open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. — though the town says it hopes to add more days in the near future.

The town is already operating two testing sites, one in Montauk and one at the Town Hall campus on Pantigo road. The sites are open seven days a week, but the Town Board has fielded complaints about long wait times for results from the tests administered there.

On Monday evening, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc told members of the Montauk Citizens Advisory Committee that CareONE had pledged to have results reported within 24 hours, and often less than that. He said that if the company delivers on its promise, and the laboratories at the other testing sites do not improve, the town may give the company control of the other sites as well.

The new testing site will also be the first locally to offer the PCR saliva test, which relies on a mouth swab rather than the nasal swab, which can cause considerable discomfort.

The PCR tests at all town sites are free and insurance is not required.

The Wainscott testing site does not yet have the rapid tests that give results in just 15 minutes, but will soon, the town said — though those tests will cost $100 and must be paid for separately.

The positivity rate of tests administered at the town’s testing sites has dropped over the last two weeks, but continues to far outpace the average across Long Island, according to statistics that Mr. Van Scoyoc reported this week.

For the week ending September 26, the positivity rate among those tested at the Pantigo Road site was 9 percent, down from 12 percent the week prior; and in Montauk the positivity rate was down to 11 percent, from 14 percent the week prior, Mr. Van Scoyoc reported at Tuesday’s meeting of the Town Board.

Suffolk County’s positivity rate has now dropped below 4 percent, to 3.7 percent on average over the last seven days.

Asked on Monday night why he thought the town’s positivity rate is so much higher than what’s being seen in the county, Mr. Van Scoyoc said he suspected the reason was connected to visitors from outside the region being tested locally, whereas the county statistics are based on the ZIP codes of a person’s primary residence.

“We have a large population of people here who report as being from New York City and elsewhere, so when it goes to the county or state, they aren’t even counted here,” Mr. Van Scoyoc told Montauk residents on Monday. “That’s why I feel it’s really important to broadcast what the local testing percentages are, because that is the actual numbers we’re seeing here. A lot of people are getting sick.”