NH Guard staffs multiple COVID-19 test sites
By Tech. Sgt. Aaron Vezeau
/ Published May 01, 2020
ROCHESTER, N.H. --
NH guardsmen this week began manning five drive-thru COVID-19 test sites for residents not able to access clinics or urgent care centers.
The fixed sites are located here at the local armory, Tamworth, Claremont, Lancaster armory, and Plymouth armory. They are intended to help Gov. Chris Sununu meet his goal of 1,500 tests per day.
“The idea behind this is to test those with symptoms to see how wide spread COVID is and to determine whether or not it’s safe to begin the phased opening again,” said 2nd Lt. Michael Canavan, officer in charge of the Rochester testing facility.
Ninety citizen soldiers and airmen were activated for the mission, which also includes a mobile testing site. That raised the total number of NH guardsmen mobilized for COVID-19 relief missions to 560.
“To me, as an airman, it’s actually really great,” said Master Sgt. Paul Knight, immunization noncommissioned officer for the 157th Medical Group. “I’m literally serving in the community that I live in. I’m five minutes away, so being able to help the residents of my state and city is huge.”
Canavan encouraged anyone with COVID-19 symptoms to secure a referral form their medical provider, and proceed to any of the test sites located throughout the state.
The drive-thru setup enables people to remain in their cars while tested. The sites are operational seven days a week, Canavan said.
“This is the community we work in normally,” Canavan said. “This is the domestic operations piece of the National Guard mission. I’m glad we’re here able to do that.”
Information on how to get tested can be obtained by calling (603) 271-5980.