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N.H. DHHS details new community-based COVID-19 testing program

By Staff | Apr 30, 2020

National Guard and New Hampshire Medical Task Force personnel were seen at the State Police Troop E Barrack in Tamworth on Route 16 Monday afternoon setting up one of five community testing sites. DAYMOND STEER/CONWAY DAILY SUN

CONCORD – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services has established five new testing locations and a mobile testing team to increase COVID-19 testing in New Hampshire.

The goal of the DHHS Community-Based COVID-19 Testing Program is to increase availability of testing throughout the state to ensure that any resident who is experiencing a symptom or symptoms of COVID-19 will get tested. The locations will be operational on Wednesday, April 29, for any resident with an order by a healthcare provider.

“COVID-19 testing thus far has focused on where community transmission is most frequent and on high-risk individuals such as the elderly, people with underlying health conditions, healthcare providers and first responders,” said DHHS Commissioner Lori Shibinette.

“As efforts to mitigate the spread of the virus have been primarily focused in the southern tier of the state, the Community-Based COVID-19 Testing Program will expand testing to all corners of the State and to any resident experiencing symptoms. The program will also allow us to track containment of the disease to inform plans to re-open regions of the State.”

The Community-Based COVID-19 Testing Program will feature fixed drive through testing locations in Claremont, Lancaster, Plymouth, Tamworth and Rochester.

Testing will be made available to any resident whose provider requests it. Residents should contact their primary care provider to get started. The sites will be open 8 hours a day, 7 days a week, and staffed by the National Guard and Metropolitan Medical Response System (MMRS) personnel. A mobile testing team also will be deployed daily to rotate between counties to further increase access to testing for essential businesses, targeted communities, and other emerging areas of need.

Health care providers will be able to order COVID-19 tests for their patients and send their patients’ laboratory testing orders to DHHS, which will coordinate specimen collection with those patients at one of the testing sites with scheduled appointments. Test results will be returned to the ordering healthcare provider. DHHS will be issuing guidance to healthcare providers about how they can order COVID-19 testing for their patients through one of these new testing centers. Residents experiencing symptoms who currently do not have a healthcare provider should call 2-1-1 to arrange testing.

Additionally, any resident who is experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and have barriers to accessing one of the five sites may access testing through the Visiting Nurses Association (VNA). VNA clinical staff routinely assist patients in their homes and will arrange specimen collection with the resident and transport via courier to a testing laboratory.

DHHS has also partnered with ConvenientMD to provide telehealth screening and COVID-19 testing for individuals regardless of insurance status, and two mobile teams deployed to test staff at long-term care facilities in Rockingham and Hillsborough counties. Residents who are uninsured can contact 2-1-1 for more information about telehealth and testing services available through ConvenientMD.

In addition to the new Community-Based COVID-19 Testing Program, COVID-19 testing efforts are being conducted by primary care providers, hospitals, healthcare systems, and municipal health departments. MMRS also continues to deploy at locations throughout the State based on the Division of Public Health Services’ (DPHS) case investigations, cluster outbreaks, and residential facilities’ needs.

For more information on the State’s response to the COVID-19 emergency, please visit: https://www.nh.gov/covid19/ or call 2-1-1.


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