WEST SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB / WSHM) – Local leaders are asking Governor Baker to open another regional test site in our area to meet the extremely high demand.
Hundreds of tests were administered to first responders at sites like the one at the Big E Fairgrounds in West Springfield during the early stages of the pandemic. Now elected officials are advocating reopening the doors to residents of western Massachusetts.
“He has launched the National Guard, so we are looking at ways to find a site, staff it and commission it as soon as possible,” State Representative Carlos González told Western Mass News.
Long-lasting queues at AMR’s regional COVID-19 testing site at Eastfield Mall and a wave of local cases have led State Representative González and other local leaders, including the mayor of Springfield Domenic Sarno and State Senator Adam Gomez, to appeal to Governor Charlie Baker. to open another regional testing site here in western Massachusetts.
“A site close to Springfield, but not necessarily in the city, would be beneficial for the outskirts of Springfield,” said Representative González.
He told Western Mass News that placing the site outside of Springfield would ease traffic congestion at the Eastfield Mall that has spilled over to Boston Road and become more accessible to neighboring communities …
“People mentioned the Big E, they mentioned Six Flags,” continued Representative González. “Again, this is a regional effort.
We reached out to West Springfield Mayor Will Reichelt who provided us with this statement on the condition of a potential test site at the Big E Exhibition Center:
“Senator Gomez is working with surrounding leaders to secure a regional testing site at Big E. We hope this will happen to help our surrounding communities get tested.”
As for the residents of Springfield, Representative González has personally called for an increase in testing at the community level.
“We also need to expand our community testing, because I believe that in the long run this will be the best way to reduce congestion but meet demand,” said representative González.
He said it could make a difference in helping to stop the spread.
“Whether you are vaccinated or not, testing is crucial,” he added.
Representative González also told us he was working with local pharmacies to help with community testing and potentially recruiting testing agencies to help staff the new regional testing site.