Haverhill Students and Teachers to Have Access to Rapid COVID-19 Testing at Pentucket Medical

Dr. Garrett Bomba, Pentucket Medical’s chief physician executive and a member of Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s COVID-19 advisory panel, shows the location where testing will take place inside an office trailer. (Courtesy photograph.)

Haverhill students and teachers will soon be able to receive rapid COVID-19 testing and results locally as the city partners with Pentucket Medical to open a drive-through center downtown.

The drive-up is being created in a parking lot between Pentucket Medical, One Park Way, and the police station on Bailey Boulevard. It is being readied as schools reopen and move toward in-person learning. Dr. Garrett Bomba, Pentucket Medical’s chief physician executive and a member of Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s COVID-19 advisory panel, said the test site is expected to be and running by the end of the month.

“Many of our physicians have been concerned about their patients who need testing but don’t have transportation to testing sites in Lawrence and Methuen,” Bomba said. “That combined with the need for local testing for the city’s school community, especially with school about to start back up, made this something that we wanted to offer here in Haverhill for our community and for our patients.”

Bomba said the referral-only site expects to accommodate five to 10 people per hour, with plans to ramp up if needed, depending on staffing. It plans to be open weekdays 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fiorentini said it is the first rapid result COVID-19 testing site to open in Haverhill. He said the city will pay costs for any child referred for testing by the school nurse, but whose family does not have insurance.

“The schools will be following state guidelines and recommendations and working closely with the city’s Board of Health to develop specific policies and protocols for testing students and teachers and for what happens if a child or teacher tests positive,” Fiorentini said.

Haverhill Public School Director of Health and Nursing Katie Vozeolas is in charge of referring students and teachers as well as other school staff to Pentucket Medical for testing.

The city’s Highway Department is cutting a second driveway into the parking lot to provide one-way traffic into and out of the space. Testing will take place in a small office trailer housing medical staff parked in the grass on the side of the lot.  There will be eight to 10 parking spaces for those with pre-arranged testing appointments. The city is using some of its federal Cares Act money to pay the cost of a generator to power the office trailer.

Dr. John L. Maddox, school physician and a Pentucket Medical pediatrician, said he worked on Pentucket Medical’s Riverwalk COVID-19 clinic last spring.

“When you are ill or when you have been in close contact with someone positive, it’s not a great time to have to scramble to find testing or to have to wait days for results,” Maddox said.

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