Barnstable County Health Officials Provide Update on Drive-Thru COVID Testing

Patient being tested at the Cape Cod Healthcare drive-thru facility at Cape Cod Community College

HYANNIS – As COVID-19 testing continues at the drive-thru facility at Cape Cod Community College, Barnstable County health officials announced that testing numbers will now be reported by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

“The drive-thru testing facility is operational and it has gone through its second day. Testing numbers will actually be reported by the Mass Department of Public Health now, we will not be reporting that anymore,” said Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment Director Sean O’Brien.  

“The drive-thru did see an increase and we will see how things are going through there.”

The DPH said the reason for the change is because the number of people who are tested is a health statistic and it is their responsibility to report that number.

O’Brien reminded people that they should not bring their pets with them when they are receiving drive-thru testing.  

As of Thursday there have been 5 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Barnstable County, with another suspected case under investigation.

Sandwich officials earlier this week have confirmed a third case.  

O’Brien added that Barnstable County health officials will not release the names of towns on Cape Cod where cases are confirmed.  

According to the DPH, as of Thursday, 1,743 people have been tested in Massachusetts with 256 confirmed cases statewide.

Health officials are continuing to support all 15 communities on Cape Cod and are working with them on preparation efforts.

County health officials also have a multi-agency coordination center working, however it is not an all-day operation.

The coordination center will be open at the same time as the drive-thru clinic, seven days a week from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

O’Brien said Governor Charlie Baker approved a $5 million fund to all health departments statewide.

The money from the fund can be used to purchase more supplies, overtime for medical staff, equipment, or services for decontamination.

Barnstable County health officials will serve as a fiduciary to issue the money and the money will go towards the towns on the Cape.

“I would say for the most part though a lot of it is going to go towards supplies and potentially contractual issues as well such as nurses and folks helping out communities should the need arise,” O’Brien said.

“This is for the towns, and so it would be the town that would be in contact with us we are just serving as fiduciary making sure that we can assist them with whatever they need, it’s for the local health departments.”     

At this time, officials do not know how much money from the fund will be allocated to Cape Cod and the Islands.

O’Brien said that if the Defense Act is enacted by the President, it would be of great assistance in getting personal protective equipment as there continues to be shortages across the county and state.

The CDC has also begun to develop protocols for re-using personal protective equipment due to the shortages.

Health officials said a shelter in place would have to come from the governor’s office and at this time no word of it has been discussed on Beacon Hill.

The call to shut down the bridges would also need to come from the governor’s office.

Barnstable County health facilities have cancelled all appointments for the week and officials will keep people in the know for when they will return.

The county health department will be changing their website which will provide updated instructions on how people can be tested for COVID-19.

The changes will be in coordination with Cape Cod Health Care.

About Luke Leitner

Luke Leitner grew up in Watertown Massachusetts and now lives in West Yarmouth on the Cape. He has been a part of the news team in the News Center since the spring of 2019. He studied business communications at Western New England University.
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