NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – As holiday gatherings continue for the next few weeks, Northampton is adding additional COVID-19 testing to meet the demand.

Owen Leet is planning on keeping his Christmas plans lowkey this year because of the coronavirus, “Yeah, not as many people are going to be coming over. It’s just going to be a lowkey Christmas this year.
It’s just going to be myself, my mom and my dad.”

And whether you are celebrating small like Owen or big this year, health officials are urging people to make sure to get the booster shot, and to go get tested before attending holiday celebrations.

In Northampton while vaccination numbers are steady, the health department is responding to recent spikes in COVID-19 by ramping up testing efforts with a free drive through clinic starting December 27th. The testing site will be located on Old South Street, behind the City Hall Campus and will be open on Mondays from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and Fridays from 12:00 p.m. to 4:00 pm.

Colleen Schapfel of New York has a daughter that goes to Smith College in Northampton. She told 22News that they are making sure that their daughter is getting tested before going home for the holidays, “She wants to be sure, she’s going to be around her grandparents, so she wanted to be sure to be tested. She’ll have her test before she goes to see them.”

Northampton will also be distributing rapid self tests to populations most vulnerable to COVID-19.