Free P.C.R. saliva testing for Covid-19 is now offered on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the East Hampton Town Center for Humanity, the former Child Development Center of the Hamptons, at 110 Stephen Hand's Path. The site served as a town-run vaccination center earlier this year.
Appointments are not necessary. Registration can be done in advance, at bit.ly/3mm1jtf, or completed on site. Additional days will be added as activities at the site get underway.
Only P.C.R. saliva tests are offered at present; their costs are covered by insurance or, for the uninsured, federal grants. Rapid tests will also be offered when they become available, at an out-of-pocket cost of $100 for all.
The test site represents a partnership between the town and CareONE Concierge. At the town board's meeting on Tuesday, Supervisor Peter Van Scoyoc said that CareONE Concierge officials have pledged a 24-hour turnaround from the time a sample is delivered to the lab to dissemination of the result.
The town's existing testing sites, at the Town Hall campus in East Hampton and by the boat launch ramp at Fort Pond in Montauk, are operated by Medivolve. Mr. Van Scoyoc said on Tuesday that the rates of positive Covid-19 infections at those sites began to fall in the latter half of September, mirroring a statewide trend. Between Sept. 20 and Sept. 26, 119 of 1,268 people tested at the Town Hall site were positive, a rate of 9.4 percent. In Montauk, 49 of 461 people tested positive, a rate of 10.6 percent.
The positive infection rate at both sites is about 3 percent lower than during the period from Sept. 14 to Sept. 19, he said, when 12.2 percent among 1,263 tested positive in East Hampton and 13.5 percent among 370 tested positive in Montauk. "I hope that is a trend that continues," Mr. Van Scoyoc said, "but they are still pretty high positive rate numbers."
The falling positive infection rate follows a sharp rise in August, when the rate more than tripled, from 4 to 13 percent. Snapshots from that time span include a 19.9 percent positive rate among 265 tests at the Town Hall site between Aug. 2 and 8. At Montauk, a positive rate of 12.4 percent was recorded among 781 tests between Aug. 27 and Sept. 2, and in the same time period the East Hampton site recorded a 13-percent positive rate among 1,342 tests.
On Monday, Suffolk County's seven-day average rate of positive infection was 3.4 percent. The statewide seven-day average was 2.34 percent.
Some town employees have become infected with Covid-19, Mr. Van Scoyoc said, though not necessarily while on the job. While he would like the town board to resume in-person meetings, which were suspended early last month, "I think it's worth continuing to be cautious at this point," he said.