Simmons Looks To Improve COVID-19 Testing Capacity In Stamford

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STAMFORD, CT — With the holidays over and with the omicron variant of the coronavirus continuing to surge, there is an increased demand for COVID-19 testing both locally and around the country.

In Stamford, long lines have snarled testing sites and pick-up locations in recent days.

"We've been doing everything we can as a city to try and get more testing, working with our state and federal partners to expand our testing capacity," said Stamford Mayor Caroline Simmons during her weekly COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday.

"We know testing has been on everyone's minds, and there's been a surge. Given the increase in our positive case rate and the number of people who have been contracting COVID, especially with the contagious variant of omicron, we've seen a surge in demand for testing," she added.

On Sunday, Stamford distributed about 20,000 at-home tests at three pick-up locations around the city. Priority was given to high-risk populations and those experiencing symptoms.

"Unfortunately there weren't as many tests as we hoped to meet the demand, but we did the best we could," Simmons said.

Simmons said she expected Stamford to receive another shipment on Wednesday, and that more information will be released to the public when it's available.

In the meantime, Simmons encouraged residents to take advantage of local drive-through testing sites:

  • Cove Island Park: Open Monday through Friday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.; weekends 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Drive-through, no appointment needed.

  • Rippowam Middle School Temporary Pop-Up Clinic: Hours announced nightly on city website.

Permanent sites by appointment only:

  • DOCS Urgent Care, 2001 W. Main St.

  • Walgreens, 780 E. Main St.

  • CVS Pharmacy (several locations)

  • Stamford Hospital Wheeler Building

  • Community Health Centers, 22 Fifth St.

  • AFC Urgent Care, 3000 Summer St.

  • Quest Diagnostics, 1250 Summer St., Suite 203

  • Murphy Medical Associates, 30 Buxton Road

"We are looking to bring [the Rippowam pop-up site] to a more permanent site so that we can have the second site in Stamford for our residents for the traditional PCR tests many people are looking for," said Acting Health Director Jody Bishop-Pullan. "It's difficult, but please be assured that we're doing the best we can in working with our partners in the state and our local partners to bring you the testing you need."

COVID-19 Numbers

According to the latest update from the state Department of Public Health on Dec. 30, Stamford had 95.4 average daily cases per 100,000 residents and a positive test rate of 15.00 percent between Dec. 12-25. There were 42.6 average daily cases per 100,000 residents in the previous two-week reporting period.

Another update from the state is expected Jan. 6.

At Stamford Hospital as of Tuesday, according to Head of Infectious Disease Dr. Asha Shah, there were 76 COVID-19 positive patients being treated. A majority of the patients were not requiring critical care, she said.

At the Stamford Health testing site, there was a positivity rate of 40 percent last week out of 4,500 tests. In the week prior, the positivity rate was around 26 percent.

Shah cited data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention which showed the omicron variant accounting for 82 percent of circulating COVID-19 strains in New England (Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts , New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont).

For more information on COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites in Stamford, go to the city's website.

To watch Simmons' entire COVID-19 briefing on Tuesday, click here.

This article originally appeared on the Stamford Patch

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