A pop-up COVID-19 testing facility opened yesterday, April 30, at the Hudson River Health Care Kraus Family Health Center in Southampton.
The nonprofit Hamptons Health Society raised $20,000 in local donations to help fund the operation and provide free testing to any uninsured resident in need of financial assistance. HRHCare is testing at most of its health centers throughout the county, including Southampton and Riverhead, and is operating 12 pop-up testing sites throughout its network.
“We are pleased to bring pop-up testing to Southampton,” said Anne Kauffman Nolon, MPH, chief executive officer of HRHCare. “Pop-up testing is a critical part of our community response against COVID-19 and is important for the added protection of patients and staff. We will continue expanding our response to the COVID-19 pandemic until we prevail, for the sake of our patients and our communities.”
HRHCare is a federally-qualified health center that manages all of Suffolk County’s community health centers. When Southampton Village Mayor Jesse Warren learned that an additional site could open at the Southampton HRHCare if funds were made available, he reached out to the Hamptons Health Society for help. Dr. Peter Michalos, the nonprofit’s founder and a Southampton-based ophthalmologist, answered the call. He and Warren recently worked together to raise money to procure ventilators for the hospital and acquire personal protective equipment for local health care workers.
“This team effort is making it possible for those without means to get tested for free,” Warren said. “I am grateful for the generous financial support from the community and the advocacy of all the South Fork elected leaders that helped make this local testing facility a reality.”
“Anyone who may have the virus needs to know as soon as possible so they can protect themselves and others,” Southampton Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said. “That is why it is so important to have a local site. Lacking financial resources should not be a barrier to testing, and thanks to the generosity of the Hamptons Health Society it won’t be. I am also thankful to Mayor Warren for helping get this off the ground.”
The location is adjacent to Stony Brook Southampton Hospital. For many weeks, South Fork residents and government officials have been advocating for increased availability of testing in the region, which includes East Hampton and Southampton towns.
“Limited access to testing has been a concern for South Fork officials and residents alike,” East Hampton Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said. “Having convenient and cost-free testing for those of limited means is particularly important. I am so grateful to our generous friends and neighbors who have come together to make this happen.”
Testing will be done every Tuesday and Thursday from 10 AM to 3 PM by appointment only. Anyone with shortness of breath, a persistent cough, or temperature above 100.5 degrees, or who has been in close contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19, should call 845-553-8030.
The site is also supported by several other local entities. The property is owned by Stony Brook Southampton Hospital, and traffic control and security is being conducted by the Southampton Village Police Department. Suffolk County will be distributing educational materials.
“This public-private partnership will allow health officials to continue to expand testing, which is so critical to containing the virus and reopening the economy,” said Suffolk County Legislator Bridget Fleming.
HRHCare Southampton is located at 330 Meeting House Lane in Southampton Village. No one will be turned away due to insurance or immigration status, and the center is also providing information and referrals on COVID-19.
“The establishment of a drive-thru site in Southampton is another step forward as we continue to ramp up the necessary testing required to protect public health and to re-open our economy,” state Assemblyman Fred Thiele said. “My thanks to the Hamptons Health Society for again providing generous support to improve health care in our community.”
The location will continue offering telemedicine, with extended hours available. These appointments can be made by calling 1-844-HRH-CARE (474-2273), texting “telemed” to 21000, or by visiting www.hrhcare.org. Telemedicine visits can be through video chat or a regular phone call. New patients are welcome. Current patients can schedule telemedicine visits with their regular doctor.