IPSWICH — Town Manager Tony Marino and Director of Public Health Colleen Fermon are pleased to announce that the Town of Ipswich has partnered with Action Ambulance Service, Inc. to offer COVID-19 home testing for those identified as close contacts of positive cases.
The program seeks to make testing accessible to those unable to drive or be driven to an area testing site. When an Ipswich Public Health nurse interviews a close contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case in the community, they will coordinate home testing if the resident is interested in the service and unable to get to a site, including those without transportation, unable to drive, housebound and without childcare. An Action Ambulance representative will then call to schedule the testing at the resident’s home.
A close contact is being less than six feet from a person with COVID-19 for at least 10-15 minutes or having direct contact with infectious secretions of a COVID-19 case while not wearing recommended personal protective equipment or PPE.
The service launched on Tuesday, June 23 and is only available to those deemed a close contact by an Ipswich Public Health nurse or Contact Tracing Collaborative agent representing the town without the ability to travel to a testing site.
Residents with access to transportation who are identified as a close contact to a positive case can view a full list of testing sites in the state by clicking here and learn more about COVID-19 testing by visiting the state’s website here.
“The number of new cases appears to be slowly declining, but as restrictions begin to loosen with each of the state’s re-opening phases, it is increasingly critical for us to be able to rapidly identify COVID-19 patients and their close contacts,” Fermon said. “We’re incredibly thankful Action Ambulance is making it possible for us to conduct home testing for those who need it. This has the potential to make a significant difference in the months and weeks ahead as we continue to monitor this virus in our community.”
Close contacts of positive COVID-19 cases, regardless of symptoms, are urged to get tested for the virus as soon as possible after they are notified of their exposure by a local Health Department or the Community Tracing Collaborative. They will also be required to quarantine for a full 14 days, even following a negative test result.
Testing should be done by a nasopharyngeal, nasal, or oral swab or sputum sample. Serologic (antibody) testing is not appropriate for close contacts looking to determine whether they have contracted the virus.
“We’re happy to create a process to allow the expansion of COVID-19 testing for those who need it in the community, specifically those who can’t get out of their homes for testing,” said Action Ambulance Service, Inc President and CEO Michael Woronka. “It’s so important for us to be working hand in hand with the health department and first responder agencies as well to identify and test close contacts to help reduce the spread of the virus.”
Action Ambulance is also offering the home testing program in Wilmington and Winthrop.
The Town of Ipswich has not identified a new case of COVID-19 in the community since June 3, and there have been a total of 71 cases of COVID-19 in Ipswich since March.