SVHC COVID Resource Center Will Discontinue Testing
BENNINGTON, Vt. — As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to decrease and the supply of rapid antigen tests has stabilized, the need for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing has declined dramatically.
Federal funding for centralized testing has ceased. In addition, most workplaces and travel destinations no longer require PCR testing. As a result, SVHC will discontinue offering PCR tests at the CRC at noon on Friday, July 1.
Employees of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) collected more than 110,000 COVID specimens at the COVID Resource Center (CRC) since January 2021.
"Our work to provide testing to the community was one of the greatest efforts in our organization's history," said Chief Medical Officer Trey Dobson, MD. "We are grateful to the many dedicated employees whose hard work significantly diminished the spread of the virus and limited hospitalizations and deaths in our region."
According to a press release, clinical staff worked outdoors in inclement weather. Staff members throughout the organization spent time beyond their regular professional commitments to support the effort. Lab technicians worked overtime to deliver results.
"We are also thankful that decreasing cases and the increased availability of self-administered antigen tests allows us to stand down this service for now," Dobson said.
SVHC remains ready to resume the availability of PCR testing at the COVID Resource Center (CRC) as the situation requires.
"If cases go up again or if home tests become scarce or other needs arise, we will be here for the community," Dobson said. "We have an incredible team and can reopen the service quickly when it's needed."
The few asymptomatic people who may need a PCR test—to meet a workplace requirement or as a prerequisite for surgery at another facility, for instance—can get one at SVMC's Respiratory Evaluation Center/ExpressCare at 120 Hospital Drive in Bennington. Standard charges will apply.
The CRC will remain open for vaccines 8 a.m. – noon on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting July 5 and as long as needed.
Everyone age 6 months and older is eligible for vaccination. The Center offers Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, based on availability. People 5 and older are eligible for a booster, and those 50 and older are eligible for a second booster. No appointment is needed. Vaccines are available for free.
The COVID Resource Center is located on the former Southern Vermont College campus at 982 Mansion Drive in Bennington. For additional information, visit svhealthcare.org/COVID-Resource-Center.
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