Local residents head to Holyoke Medical Center for COVID-19 testing

Coronavirus Local Impact

HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – Western Massachusetts is not immune to COVID concerns.

A rapidly surging number of people are being hospitalized here in the Pioneer Valley and across the nation as the wildly contagious Omicron Variant continues to tear through the country.

While not as deadly as its Delta predecessor, the virus and its possible long term impacts are still a concern to many. But the long term threat to children, both medically and psychologically remains a constant fear as the pandemic continues.

“The children are being vaccinated, it breaks my heart, so young and innocent, when we were children, we never had to cope with anything like this…,” said Carol Ashby of Amherst.

David Lopez’s three-year-old son reacted as any small child would to being tested for COVID-19. But David’s concern for his child’s health is worth this minor inconvenience, just to be certain that their youngster checks out okay.

“Well the kids don’t know any better. They touch everything. They put their hands in their mouth, my concern is the kid’s health, so I came over here to get him tested to be on the safe side,” said Lopez who brought his son to Holyoke Medical Center, one of the only locations in the area offering testing this weekend.

The end of the year and start of 2022 produced an upsurge in testing in Holyoke and in neighboring cities and towns, it’s been busy.

Holyoke Medical Center Lab Technician and Phlebotomist, Bill Plasse noted, “Holiday season you know, people gathering with their families, a lot of people are coming out and getting tested. Yesterday I was here early around 5 a.m., 5:30 a.m., it was a long line of cars waiting and we opened at 7:15 a.m.”

Testing resumes at Eastfield Mall Sunday, where just a few days ago record numbers of people waited their turn to find out if they were a danger to loved ones and others they’ve come in contact with.

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