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Cape Cod Reopening Task Force Highlights Ongoing Planning for COVID-19 Testing on Cape Cod this Summer

(CAPE COD) Today, the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force and regional health partners announced plans to increase access to testing on Cape Cod this summer to detect and contain the novel coronavirus.

In a morning press availability, Cape Cod Healthcare CEO Mike Lauf, Outer Cape Health Services CEO Patricia Nadle, Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment Director Sean O’Brien, and State Senator Julian Cyr discussed ongoing plans to make additional testing available across the region.

“As Cape Cod continues to reopen, residents and seasonal visitors alike need ready access to testing to stay healthy, protect their loved ones, and limit the spread of COVID-19,” said State Senator Julian Cyr (D-Truro), who serves as public information officer for the reopening task force.

Outer Cape Health Services sites in Harwich, Wellfleet, and Provincetown provided testing to asymptomatic individuals yesterday (Wednesday) and are continuing today. The three sites were part of a larger statewide push to provide testing to residents who attended large gatherings or protests in recent days and weeks.

“On Wednesday, June 17, Outer Cape Health Services performed nearly 1,000 free Covid-19 tests from Provincetown to Harwich Port. We expect continued demand from the public on Thursday,” according to Patricia Nadle, CEO of Outer Cape Health Services. “As a community health center, our mission is to serve all. This is epitomized by this special initiative in partnership with the Commonwealth.”

Representatives from Outer Cape Health Services and Cape Cod Healthcare elaborated on their respective plans to expand testing options across the region.

Outer Cape Health Services will continue to offer Covid-19 testing at its Provincetown health center on Saturdays and at its Wellfleet health center weekday afternoons. These appointments

are open to all but require a screening assessment by an Outer Cape Health Services provider for a determination on testing and are not free. Governor Baker’s Executive Order making all COVID-19 related testing and medical care a covered benefit by all health insurers in the Commonwealth remains in effect.

Cape Cod Healthcare will continue to operate a mid-Cape facility, but the location will move from Cape Cod Community College to Cape Cod Healthcare’s Hyannis campus. Next week, Cape Cod Healthcare plans to open an additional testing site at Falmouth Hospital to serve the Upper Cape. This new site will provide 20 additional hours of testing capacity to the region. Any person with a physician’s order can get tested at a Cape Cod Healthcare site, and Cape Cod Healthcare has opened a hotline to provide testing options to those without a primary care referral.

"We’re working hard to ensure people know that we have additional capacity, exceptional quality, and we’re here to help,” said Mike Lauf, President and CEO of Cape Cod Healthcare.

Testing options across Massachusetts can be found on this COVID-19 Test Site Locator website offered by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Lastly, the Cape Cod Reopening Task Force, Cape Cod Healthcare, the Barnstable County Department of Health and Environment, and the Hyannis Fire Department are working to receive state approval and an allotment of testing kits and materials for a mobile testing program.

“We hope to develop the capacity to respond quickly in cooperation with local boards of health to a COVID-19 outbreak, should one surface in anywhere in the region,” said Senator Cyr. “The mobile testing program is designed to provide testing capacity at workplaces bearing a higher risk of an outbreak, such as restaurants and hotels.”

More details will be made available if the program is approved by the state COVID-19 Command Center.