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Shortages being cited in suspending mobile testing

By Nancy West | Apr 6, 2020

MANCHESTER – Citing testing equipment shortages among other factors, officials announced the suspension of mobile COVID-19 testing at the New Hampshire National Guard Armory on Canal Street.

“This decision was made in consultation with local partners and is based on several factors, including, but not limited to, shortages in available personal protective equipment (PPE) and testing swabs and the need to clean and service equipment at the testing site,” Manchester Emergency Operations Center officials said in a news release dated Friday.

COVID-19 testing capabilities will continue at major health care organizations – Catholic Medical Center, Elliot Health System, and Dartmouth-Hitchcock, as well as private entities such as ConvenientMD, the release said.

Gov. Chris Sununu’s spokesman didn’t respond to questions about the shortages at the armory Sunday.

A response from the Joint Information Center said: “Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and medical testing equipment are critical to the State’s ability to respond to the expected surge of COVID-19 cases in NH.”

The response concluded: “The DHHS Emergency Services Unit and the team at the Emergency Operations Center are working around the clock to track down and acquire personal protective equipment from everywhere, nationally and internationally. The group is both bringing PPE into the state and working with local companies that will produce PPE in New Hampshire.”

Since March 14, the mobile site has tested about 1,000 people in the Greater Manchester area.

According to the release, the site was set up in partnership with Manchester Health Department, Manchester Fire Department, Manchester Police Department, Elliot Health System, Catholic Medical Center, the New Hampshire Army National Guard, New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services and American Medical Response.

Additionally, for Manchester residents only, the City of Manchester COVID-19 Hotline (603-668-1547) will continue to operate Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. for questions related to COVID-19 and for assistance with basic needs such as food, the release said.

All other New Hampshire residents should call 2-1-1 for assistance with basic needs. 211NH is a coordinated and centralized resource to support NH residents with questions 24/7.

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