New COVID testing sites open in Vermont

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 5:05 PM EST
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WILLISTON, Vt. (WCAX) - A sad day in Vermont’s fight against COVID-19. Another person has died from the virus, bringing the death toll to 60. And 51 new cases of the coronavirus were reported Tuesday. The governor has announced more testing statewide. Our Ike Bendavid went to find out if people are heading to get tested.

The armory in Williston became a COVID-19 testing location Wednesday.

Those who showed up had their own reasons for wanting to get a test.

“I work at a bar and someone tested positive, so I’m considered a third party,” said Ally Peeters of Colchester.

“I have been getting tested every two to three weeks,” said Julie Marshall of South Burlington.

“I have to go see my mom because she is ill. I have to go see her Sunday. So I got the test today so I can get the results in time and I’ll lay low until then,” said Edward Matthews of Hinesburg.

“I feel like I have a social responsibility to get tested,” said Julia Chute of Burlington.

The Vermont Army National Guard is running the testing site in multiple locations in Chittenden County. Wednesday saw more than 200 people coming through to get tested.

“A lot of people coming out to get tested, which shows the dedication for the population of Vermont,” said Lt. Lance Jandreau of the Vermont Army National Guard.

As positive coronavirus cases rise throughout the country, the FDA announced Wednesday it has authorized the first at-home rapid COVID-19 test. The FDA says you administer the nasal swab and then insert it into the vial. Results are displayed around 30 minutes later. It is expected to cost about $50 and be available in the spring.

Vermonters I spoke to who were getting tested had mixed reactions about the announcement and whether they would use the at-home test.

“Potentially, but these have been a great resource and they been free,” Marshall said.

“Probably not. I feel safer doing it at a facility that’s recommended to do it,” Peeters said.

“Just for like accuracy-wise, I feel like professionals would be better,” Chute said.

“If they have a proven track record with that, then yeah,” Matthews said.

The FDA also approved the at-home test for use in doctors’ offices, urgent care centers and hospitals.

We asked the state about the test. In a statement, the Vermont Department of Health said:

“We are glad to see this promising innovation. Coming at the same time as the exciting information about prospective vaccines, this news gives us more reason to believe that along with Vermonters’ commitment to following health guidance and requirements, we will end this pandemic.

“It is still important to remember that test results tell you how you are that day, but has no impact on your risk of exposure or of contacting the virus tomorrow. In the meantime, we look forward to learning the results of the tests’ pilot trials and recommendations for best uses -- uses that hopefully will be a benefit to Vermonters.”

Click here for more information on the testing sites. It’s recommended that you sign up.

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