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Vt. health officials investigate Winooski COVID cluster; Testing site opened

 Wulmer Hernandez self-administers a nasal swab as part of a screening for coronavirus at a portable testing site for maritime workers at Fisherman's Terminal Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in Seattle. The U.S. has surpassed a jarring milestone in the coronavirus pandemic: 100,000 deaths. That number Wednesday is the best estimate and most assuredly an undercount. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Wulmer Hernandez self-administers a nasal swab as part of a screening for coronavirus at a portable testing site for maritime workers at Fisherman's Terminal Wednesday, May 27, 2020, in Seattle. The U.S. has surpassed a jarring milestone in the coronavirus pandemic: 100,000 deaths. That number Wednesday is the best estimate and most assuredly an undercount. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson) (WCAX)
Published: Jun. 1, 2020 at 10:14 AM EDT
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Pop-up testing for COVID-19 started Monday in Winooski, where health officials say a cluster of seven residents have now tested positive for the virus.

Fifty people were tested Monday and there was demand for more. The health department said there will be hundreds more tests done as the week goes on.

WCAX has gotten complaints from some people at other pop-up testing sites that they're waiting a week or more to get their results. Vt. Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine Monday admitted that's too long, but he said positive results are addressed quickly.

"Generally within a 48-hour period that lab test is going to be run, and if it were positive, they would begin to hear from someone. We would still obviously want them to wait to be sure that they knew they had a negative test before they made any specific decisions," he said.

Negative test results are mailed and that can take several days. We've heard that's problematic from people who need proof of a negative COVID test to return to work.

Dr. Mark Levine Friday first reported the Winooski cluster was made of five individuals. He wouldn't give more details about the affected community due to privacy laws, but when pressed he pointed out that Winooski is home to many new Americans who suffered trauma in their countries of origin and wouldn’t want to do or say anything to rekindle that trauma.

The testing that begins Monday is free and for members of the community of Winooski. Children under the age of 12 months cannot be tested.

Upcoming #COVID19 Testing in #Winooski: The Vermont Department of Health, in partnership with Community Health Centers...

Posted by City of Winooski on Monday, June 1, 2020

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