As the second wave of COVID-19 crashes down onto New Bedford just in time for Thanksgiving, the number of people who are getting tested is booming.

Whether it's because there is concern about the rising COVID cases here on the SouthCoast, or perhaps some are searching for a negative test to get peace of mind for a Thanksgiving get-together, getting a COVID test is definitely a popular activity this week in New Bedford.

There were two rows of cars snaking around the 32-acre Whale's Tooth parking lot today. At times, it's hard to even recognize the lot, which is usually used for summer tourists who are looking to sneak away to the Vineyard for a weekend getaway. Instead of New Yorkers in $300 whale print pants, head-to-toe PPE was the fashion for the health care workers doing the swabbing. The contrast was stark.

The Whale's Tooth parking lot continues to act as one of the city's most active COVID testing sites, testing every single day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. "We administered 570 tests yesterday alone," one worker told me. "We've been going non-stop."

The testing is being administered by Alert Ambulance Service out of the New Bedford Command Center trailer. Simply drive up, and a tech will administer the test while patients remain in their cars.

Michael Rock/Townsquare Media
Michael Rock/Townsquare Media

Results are posted on the Accureference Medical Lab website anywhere from one to three days on average. People who were tested at the site yesterday were reporting problems this morning accessing their results online.

"They're probably backed up," said one worker. Results were once again accessible by the afternoon.

New Bedford offers two other locations to get free COVID testing. The Greater New Bedford Community Health Center offers tests Monday through Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Testing stops at 11:30 a.m. on Fridays. Seven Hills is testing this Monday and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the old Brock Ave fire station across from Jimmy's Pizza.

No testing is scheduled for Thanksgiving Day.

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