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New PCR testing site opens in Shelburne Falls

  • PCR tests administered by Curative Inc. have started in the community room of Greenfield Cooperative Bank on Bridge Street in Shelburne Falls. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Ember Arthen-Cheyne of Greenfield takes a PCR test, administered by Curative Inc. in the community room of Greenfield Cooperative Bank in Shelburne Falls, from employee Sebastian Rodriguez on Tuesday. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 5/31/2022 5:01:05 PM

SHELBURNE FALLS — Answering the county’s need for greater availability of PCR testing, health officials have opened a new testing site in Greenfield Cooperative Bank’s community room.

“We saw a need for testing availability where you don’t need (to exhibit) symptoms or to talk to your doctor,” explained Meg Ryan, public health nurse with the Franklin Regional Council of Governments’ Cooperative Public Health Service.

People can get tested with an appointment on Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Thursdays from noon to 4 p.m. at 33 Bridge St. Walk-ins are also accepted, although appointments are preferred. People with and without insurance can get tested. There is no cost for PCR tests.

Ryan explained many people in Franklin County are required to get tested for their jobs. While employers require testing, many do not provide the tests. She also noted people can have COVID-19 without showing symptoms.

According to the most recent data from the state Department of Public Health, there were 393 positive COVID-19 cases in Franklin County in the two-week period from May 8 and May 21. Starting in early May, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) elevated Franklin County’s COVID-19 Community Level to “high,” the agency’s highest-risk assessment, amid a resurgence of the virus in the Northeast.

“Numbers are going up in Massachusetts,” Ryan said, “so people have to take appropriate steps.”

Ryan explained it is important to get vaccinated, and went on to say most experts are expecting COVID-19 to continue mutating and getting less severe in the process.

“Stop the Spread,” a program offering free PCR testing across the state, closed many of its locations in March. This included the site at Greenfield Community College (GCC). GCC then reopened its testing site on May 18 with help from the testing company Curative Inc., the same company that is offering testing in Shelburne Falls and South Deerfield, at the South County Senior Center at 67 North Main St. Curative manages testing sites in 40 states across the country.

Opening this site in Shelburne Falls “makes it easier to access testing,” Ryan said, noting that some residents have a difficult time getting to Greenfield. The Greenfield and South Deerfield testing locations are open three days a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

“Greenfield Cooperative Bank is very generous to offer their space for the testing site,” Ryan said. The testing site is next door in the bank’s community room, not the bank itself. She noted there is a separate door to enter the testing site, so people will not need to enter the bank from the street to get tested. “This makes it an ideal space,” she said.

“When we built out the branch 13 years ago, we made the decision to include a separate space that could be utilized by West County groups and organizations for meetings and gatherings,” Tony Worden, president and CEO of Greenfield Cooperative Bank, wrote in an email. “When the FRCOG approached us about the possibility of the space hosting a testing site, we felt that it was a worthwhile use of the space.”

To sign up for PCR testing at the Shelburne Falls site, visit bit.ly/3GyXmeA.

Bella Levavi can be reached at blevavi@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.



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