Bristol Hospital joins other area hospitals in offering mobile screening for coronavirus

By Bristol Observer

March 13, 2020

There is good news for area residents who have been prescribed testing for COVID-19 by their doctors. Bristol Health has opened their outdoor specimen collection station in one of their parking lots via Queen Street entrance, where nurses are on hand.

As residents drive by, they will notice public health security standing at the entrance of the station that is fenced in. The city and hospital want to make it known to everyone that the station is not a free-for-all. It is strictly for those who have received a written note from their primary care physician, telling them to get tested for COVID-19. Patients should also have identification on hand.

“We are definitely on the cutting edge of being proactive. There may be some consternation amongst people who drive by, who live in this area when they see the activity—especially the presence of masked employees at an entrance, but it is entirely safe,” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. “The department of public health is here regulating it. We’re going to have police officers standing by, and I think the hospital, and our Bristol-Burlington Health District should be commended for how quickly this has come together.”

“I feel very prepared to handle this coronavirus,” said Chris Ann Meaney, RN. “Our team is calm; they’re ready to take care of the patients that need the service we’re going to offer.”

“We’ve really been focusing on handwashing, respiratory etiquette, staying home if you’re sick,” said Megan DeFazio, RN.

Bristol Health is not performing the actual testing for COVID-19. They are simply providing nasal swabs to those that show up with their doctor’s note, and then sending the swabs out for testing via Federal Express.

Testing for the coronavirus has been problematic. On March 4, the federal officials announced that those who wanted a coronavirus test may get one if a doctor agrees. Quest Diagnostics has announced that it would begin to provide testing March 9. That testing is “collected in appropriate health care settings,” such as hospitals and physician offices, not at its many lab sites.

Bristol Health has said that the samples will be sent out daily at 3 p.m., and the turnaround time is estimated to be one week. The station will be operating from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week.

For the general public, a hotline is available to contact for information at 860-261-6855. The hotline consists of recorded messages providing the most up to date information, visitor restrictions, and testing center operations for Bristol Health. Additional questions should be directed to 2-1-1 to speak with a live operator.