COVID-19 testing continues at New England Sports Center

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An individual working at the Stop the Spread COVID-19 testing site at the New England Sports Center empties a bag as cars pull into the site for testing. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

MARLBOROUGH – COVID-19 testing continued at the New England Sports Center Tuesday morning amid what has, at times, been an “overwhelming” amount of demand for testing.

Coinciding with a surge in confirmed COVID-19 cases, the “Stop the Spread” testing operation in Marlborough had to close early on Monday due to the number of patients seeking tests.

“We ask that you plan accordingly and apologize for any inconvenience,” the Marlborough Mayor’s Office noted on social media after announcing that early end to testing. 

Testing relocated to NESC amid COVID-19 case uptick

UMass Memorial-Marlborough Hospital has provided COVID-19 testing in Marlborough since the early days of the coronavirus pandemic almost two years ago. 

It initially started running testing on its actual hospital campus before relocating to the New England Sports Center to process a higher volume of tests in the Sports Center’s massive parking lot.

The hospital brought testing back onto its grounds earlier this year as COVID-19 case rates slowed. 

With the arrival of the omicron variant of the virus, the hospital then moved testing back to the New England Sports Center earlier this month.



Demand for tests increases

Testing is normally available between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. 

On Dec. 23, though, staff ran a shortened 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. schedule to allow tests to be brought to the lab and processed before the Christmas holiday weekend. On Monday, as testing resumed following the weekend, demand was so high that the site closed to new patients at 11 a.m. 

The Mayor’s office said there was an “overwhelming number of visitors” as it announced the early closure.

“UMass Memorial-Marlborough Hospital has been a great partner in our fight to curb the pandemic and we thank them for their hard work,” that statement to community members continued. “Thank you for your understanding.”

A police officer directs traffic within the drive Stop the Spread COVID-19 testing site at the New England Sports Center in Marlborough. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

The heightened demand for testing is not unique to Marlborough.

The state is currently reporting some of its highest numbers of PCR tests conducted to date in the pandemic for the month of December. 

Marlborough specifically conducted 13,334 tests per 100,000 people between Dec. 5 and Dec. 18, according to state data, exceeding a rate of 10,044 between Nov. 14 and Nov. 17. 

Those numbers are below the latest state average of 18,539 tests per 100,000 people. And they do not include recent data from tests administered immediately before and after family gatherings associated with some recent holidays, including Christmas. 

Learn more about COVID-19 testing at the New England Sports Center by visiting UMass Memorial Health’s website.

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