Island COVID-19 Testing Sites Overrun By Demand

Tiffany Balling should have been back in New York at her job yesterday. Instead, she was on Nantucket helping out at her parent’s business – Dan’s Pharmacy – as they worked to accommodate a deluge of people seeking COVID-19 tests amid a surge of demand on the island.

When Dan’s Pharmacy opened Friday morning, there was a line of 50 people at the door waiting to be tested. Across the island yesterday, the few organizations that provide COVID-19 testing were inundated with individuals looking to get swabbed as the number of new cases crept higher.

Another seven new COVID-19 cases were diagnosed on Thursday, according to Nantucket Cottage Hospital, and one COVID-19 positive individual was flown by Medflight helicopter from Nantucket to a higher level of care in recent days. Otherwise, there were no hospitalized COVID-19 patients on the island.

Balling said she expected Dan’s Pharmacy would top 100 rapid antigen tests on Friday, which would break the record of 80 tests set just one day earlier. Between COVID-19 tests, vaccinations, and normal pharmacy operations, Dan’s was beehive of activity all day long.

Meanwhile at ACK Dental Art, which provides both rapid and PCR tests, one employee told the Current “It’s crazy. We’re overloaded right now.”

ACK Dental Art was sending employees out to various locations around the island to provide tests, as well as doing in-house appointments, from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. and by yesterday afternoon they anticipated topping 200 COVID-19 tests. Even so, they still turned away another 200 people over the past few days because they were completely booked. Typically, the ACK Dental Art office off Old South Road does six to 10 COVID-19 tests per day.

“Now,” the employee said, “it’s bedlam.”

Nantucket Cottage Hospital, which expanded its testing apparatus yesterday to meet the surging demand, also did roughly 100 tests, according to public information manager James Lanza. Even so, the hospital plans to expand testing hours even further, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., tacking on two hours in the afternoon, plus new limited testing services on Saturday. Some seeking testing said the hospital’s appointments were all booked up early Friday morning.

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