Long lines cause COVID testing site at Springfield’s Eastfield Mall to turn away additional cars Monday morning

After long lines at Springfield’s Eastfield Mall COVID testing site Monday morning, police began turning

After long lines at Springfield’s Eastfield Mall COVID testing site Monday morning, police began turning away cars.

“As of 9:30 a.m. no additional cars will be allowed access to the Covid Testing Site at the Eastfield Mall due to high demand,” Ryan Walsh, police spokesman, tweeted. “It is unclear at this point if any additional cars will be allowed in the lot today before it closes. Thank you for your cooperation.”

Increased COVID case numbers have been reported since the holidays.

Massachusetts reported 21,397 more COVID cases on Friday, the second day in a row to see daily cases above 20,000.

Data released on Thursday showed Springfield with a higher average daily rate of 118 and a higher percent positivity of 12{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97} compared to Worcester and Boston. Case rates are determined by the number of cases per 100,000 people over a 14-day period.

Springfield remains one of the state’s major population centers with a lower vaccination rate. As of Dec. 28, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health reported the city was 56{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97} fully vaccinated with 66{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97} having had at least one dose of vaccine. Boston was 68{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97} fully vaccinated and Worcester was at 63{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97}. Many smaller communities across the state have achieved 95{df277fece0e332513078d4db57f50d7f29a9f255adc120b3235ad73f23ad2e97} or greater.

Springfield also reinstated a mask mandate on Monday.

“We are going to have to make some drastic moves. We are now in a crisis mode,” Mayor Domenic Sarno said last week. “But one that we can control.”

The Eastfield Mall’s COVID testing site made plans over the weekend to turn people away if the long lines began causing a safety hazard.

“Once the parking lot is backed up to Boston Rd. officers will temporarily restrict access to the lot & ask drivers to come back later to prevent a traffic safety issue,” Walsh previously tweeted.

Both schools and airlines have been feeling the impact of the rising cases.

Multiple Massachusetts schools closed Monday due to both COVID-19 cases and snow. Boston Public Schools had more than 150 teachers tested positive for COVID-19 over the weekend, and more district staff could call out sick after taking a rapid test Monday, officials said.

Still, the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education is pushing for schools to be in-person.

“If we learned anything from this pandemic, it’s the damage that was done to kids should never be repeated,” Baker said Thursday. “We have the tools and capabilities to keep people safe.”

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https://www.masslive.com/coronavirus/2022/01/long-lines-cause-covid-testing-site-at-springfields-eastfield-mall-to-turn-away-additional-cars-monday-morning.html