SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Multiple COVID-19 testing locations are closed Tuesday due to the freezing temperatures. It was eerily quiet Tuesday morning at the Eastfield Mall COVID-19 testing location after it closed for the day due to the weather.
“Them working out there for eight to 10 hours at a time, being exposed [to freezing temperatures] would put them at risk,” AMR operations manager for western Massachusetts, Patrick Leonardo told 22News.
AMR understands the demand for testing right now but the heaters currently provided aren’t enough for temperatures this cold. “The tents are not fully enclosed and when the wind comes in, it does hit through the tents hitting our staff members. So frost bite is a concern. They need to have hands and fingers to be able to type on the computers,” Leonardo continued.
The Holyoke Community College, Easthampton Millside Park and Chicopee RiverMills testing site also closed Tuesday due to the cold. The Eastfield Mall site is expected to re-open Wednesday.
Between the sites, thousands of people get tested for COVID-19 every day in western Massachusetts but the Department of Public Health released new recommendations Tuesday that might dwindle those numbers down.
“DPH doesn’t recommend that employers or schools or childcare providers require a test to return from isolation after having COVID,” Governor Charlie Baker announced in a conference today.
Baker says testing sites are seeing an increase in people wanting PCR tests to got back to work or school.
To ease that surge, the Department of Public Health (DPH) said rapid tests should be accepted by employers and schools too, if they still choose to require tests.
A Wind Chill Advisory is in effect for Berkshire County, and the western areas of Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin counties from 1 a.m. until 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Tuesday’s 7:00 a.m. temperatures will be zero and the low single digits. Despite plenty of sun, we are not going to warm up much on Tuesday. High temperatures will be in the low teens. The breeze on Tuesday will be light in the valley; but it won’t take much wind to make the air feel like it is close to zero.