WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Every day thousands of western Massachusetts hospital workers and first responders work to take care of sick patients and keep our communities informed and protected from this COVID-19 pandemic.
But in order to keep us safe, they need to also take care of themselves. On Thursday, The Big E became the first COVID-19 testing site in western Massachusetts for first responders.
Dozens of cars filed in through Gate 1 of the fairgrounds Thursday where they went through several checkpoints in order to get tested. A process that Big E Security Director Cliff Hedges said is completed in about 15 minutes or less.
They keep their windows closed, show their drivers license and necessary credentials. Then they are taken into the transportation building where they are met by a runner in hazmat gear and are directed right to the tester, They verify the information again and then they’re released.Cliff Hedges, Security Director at The Big E
To get tested you must be a first responder showing symptoms of the virus and have a referral from your doctor. Once the first responders come to the fairgrounds and complete their test, results are ready can be expected in about 1-2 days.
The testing site is available for first responders and health workers only which include: Police Officers Firefighters, EMS Personnel Correction Officers, Mortuary Service Providers, State Active Duty National Guard Personnel.
The site at the Big E will perform up to 200 tests a day, seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with appointments scheduled in advance.