More Coronavirus Testing Sites For First Responders Coming This Week

BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — Gov. Charlie Baker said more free coronavirus testing centers dedicated to first responders will open up across the state this week, which will "run as long as need be" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Baker spoke to the press Sunday afternoon, after touring a new drive-thru coronavirus testing facility for first responders in the parking lot of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough.

"One of the things about dealing with an unprecedented outbreak like this is it's very hard to draw big conclusions about exactly how it's going to work and how long it's going to last," Baker said.

"You're going to have first responders putting themselves in difficult and complicated situations for a while, and obviously we're going to run this site as long as it takes... so we can make sure they get tested and tested promptly."

Baker said his administration has also been in conversation with colleagues in Western Massachusetts and in the Merrimack Valley, and the state can expect to see additional first responder-dedicated testing sites opening up in those parts of Massachusetts "sometime later this coming week."

There are also "a number of sites under discussion or under development" that will serve as additional medical center field capacity across the state, according to Baker.

"There's one being developed as we speak at the BCEC.... for Greater Boston... there's also one going up on the Cape at Joint Base Cape Cod.... and there's also a conversation going on about potentially doing one in Western Mass as well."

Baker said the future field hospitals will be "in combination with some of the sites that have been developed on the acute hospital side, where certain facilities are either making floors or entire facilities COVID-19 specialty sites."

The Governor said the goal is to allow patients who no longer need an acute level of care, but still need to be watched over, to be moved to a "lower level site with a significant amount of clinical capability and equipment to serve them." Baker said that would allow the state's acute facilities to continue serving those who not only have COVID-19, but the many other medical issues people deal with every day.

(Photo: Getty Images)

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