Darien plans for coronavirus testing site

Photo of Sandra Diamond Fox

About four hours — That’s the time it took between Darien’s First Selectman Jayme Stevenson’s announcement through a town-wide email that there would be a drive-thru COVID-19 test site at town hall — and the cancelation of the site.

However, there are now plans to set up a site in a different location.

In an email to The Darien Times, Stevenson wrote she decided to cancel the initial test site because there were some challenges with the original site selection.

“We are committed to providing a site for Murphy Medical to operate a testing site in Darien and are finalizing the details on a proposed solution,” Stevenson wrote. “We proactively sought to bring a testing site to Darien because we saw the access issues occurring statewide. When we had to cancel, the demand became immediately clear. Folks want the ability to be tested and prefer to stay close to home rather than going to a nearby hospital or other out-of-town site.”

Stevenson continued: “The good news is that Governor Lamont announced [Thursday] that there are now 15 drive-thru testing sites in Connecticut. Stamford and Greenwich Hospitals are the closest to us. Other sites are opening daily. New Canaan will be opening a testing site on Friday from 9-11. Folks must remember that these sites operate by doctor referral and some by appointment only. News will be forthcoming on the new Murphy Medical testing site in Darien.”

Facebook reaction

Immediately after the announcement for a site at town hall was posted on The Darien Times website, a woman who said she lives near the proposed location expressed strong opposition to the test site on the newspaper’s Facebook page.

She said the town didn’t receive notice from its leaders ahead of time. She also said there are children who live on the street in front of town hall, as well as the surrounding streets.

Several hours later, when the test site was canceled, many people expressed their disappointment and strongly urged Stevenson to reconsider, also on the Darien Times Facebook page.

The post on The Darien Times website had more than 50 comments and 12 shares.

Some said that the more testing sites there are, the safer everyone will be.

Others said in light of all the people who are very sick and dying from the virus, Darien residents should not be playing the “not in my backyard game.”

Alternatives for another testing site location that were suggested include the train station parking lot or a school.

COVID-19 testing sites

Current testing sites include:

 Bridgeport Hospital - Ahlbin Center garage, 226 Mill Hill Ave., Bridgeport, Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

 Lawrence & Memorial Hospital - Parking lot A of the hospital, 365 Montauk Ave., New London, Monday - Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., weekend times to be determined.

 Yale New Haven Hospital - 150 Sargent Drive, New Haven, Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m..

 Greenwich Hospital - located on hospital property in the lower level physician parking lot off of Lake Avenue (hospital address is 5 Perryridge Road). Monday - Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday & Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more details on testing locations and times, visit the Murphy Medical website at greenwichdocs.com.

For questions, call the Covid-19 Call Center at 203-ASKYNHH.