UMass Memorial Hospital and Worcester city officials offer free COVID testing

WORCESTER, Mass. — During the height of the pandemic, Worcester was hit hard. On Friday, the city offered free coronavirus testing, masks, and hand sanitizers outside of city hall. People started lining up early from Worcester, and surrounding cities and towns.

Many people that lined up say, they aren’t taking any chances, and are taking precautions and want to know if they are carrying the virus.

During the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, UMass Memorial Hospital in Worcester was running on surge capacity.

They were at what they call the highwater mark capacity.

“It was really tough, and the virus is a strange beast. It’s been a challenge for us,” said Dr. John Broach, an emergency room physician from UMass Memorial Hospital.

Dr. Broach was running the field hospital in Worcester back then.

Fast forward to August, he says, there is a huge difference right now.

“What we are doing now is making sure the city, and the Commonwealth health system is prepared and understands the community prevalence of the disease,” said Dr. Broach.

Hundreds lined up outside of Worcester City Hall on Friday afternoon waiting to get a free COVID test, masks, and hand sanitizer. Those who got the test done were also offered a free flu shot with their insurance card.

For Fernanda Espinoza and her daughter, getting the COVID test done today is mandatory.

“We need a test to go back to Ecuador, we are leaving on Tuesday. We need the test to get into my country,” said Fernanda Espinoza.

Fernanda Espinoza and her daughter flew in from Ecuador.

They’re visiting family, knowing the infection rate is much lower in Massachusetts than what she is seeing in her native Ecuador.

“It’s really hard over there. In the place where I live there are people that are dying all day.” Said Espinoza.

For 11-year-old Anoushka Kolli, she’s making sure to stay educated about the virus, because she knows this virus doesn’t age discriminate.

“I’ve been wearing masks, and staying socially distant,” Anoushka Kolli from Shrewsbury.

“It’s important to get tested at least once to make sure we are doing our protocols ok,” said Madhavi Kolli, from Worcester.

Organizers estimate they are doing at least 700 tests today alone. The message from doctors here, think about the people around you. keep practicing social distancing, and wear a mask.

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