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Bristol Hospital collects nearly 100 specimens Wednesday for coronavirus, expected to receive more kits

By The Bristol Press

March 19, 2020

Bristol Hospital collected nearly 100 specimens to test for the coronavirus on Wednesday.

“We did not run out today,” Chris Boyle, hospital spokesperson, said late Wednesday.

“We were getting a little low toward the end of the day,” he continued. “We’ll be good to go for the rest of the week at least.”

Bristol Hospital is expecting more test kits on Thursday.

“They’re a high demand item,” Boyle said.

Since the hospital’s outdoor drive-through testing station launched last Friday, it has collected about 204 specimens in total, taking 95 samples just on Wednesday. Some patients have come from out of state. Cars were lined up with as many as eight or nine deep onto Queen Street Wednesday morning.

No tests taken in Bristol have come back positive for COVID-19 as of yet.

“The whole process has worked very well,” Boyle said.

Multiple people have been turned down for not having proper documentation needed for the COVID-19 test.

“It’s so important to emphasize people need a physician’s note,” the hospital spokesperson said. “They will be turned away if they don’t have a hard copy of the note.”

Bristol Hospital is now sending specimens to Quest Diagnostics lab in Virginia. The turnaround time is still anticipated to be about a week for results, but Boyle said the samples, which were previously sent via Federal Express to another lab, will now be picked up directly from the site and taken to the airport.

“We have an existing relationship with Quest,” Boyle said. “That was the reason for that change. They’re getting bombarded with tests.”

Bristol Health’s info line about the coronavirus, which is available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, has received more than 1,100 calls. The line, at 860-261-6855, is a recorded message with all things related to the virus. Boyle said the line now includes an option to speak with a registered nurse from the Bristol-Burlington Health District.

“We can’t thank Marco Palmieri (director of health of the district) and his team enough,” Boyle said. “That’s been very successful.”