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Lynn can test up to 2,000 people daily at new COVID site

The Lynn Ferry Terminal is being used as a new COVID testing site. (Olivia Falcigno)

LYNN — The new COVID-19 express testing site opening at the Ferry Terminal on Blossom Street Extension next Tuesday will have the capacity to test up to 2,000 people per day. 

The drive-through testing site, which will remain open through at least March 31, will replace many of the free testing sites that are currently operating in the city, but will actually expand Lynn’s testing capacity, according to Mayor Thomas M. McGee. 

As part of the state’s Stop the Spread campaign, Lynn was one of four Massachusetts communities selected to operate a regional express testing center. The new site will be run by Project Beacon, a company that specializes in high-volume appointment-only testing and currently operates an express site in Revere. 

The testing site will be located at the Blossom Street Extension parking lot, commonly known as the Lynn Ferry Terminal, and will have the capacity to perform up to 2,000 tests per day once it reaches full capacity in early January. 

The new Project Beacon site will replace the existing Stop the Spread testing sites located at Lynn English High School and behind the Lynn Fire Department headquarters on Western Avenue, which will both close after a final full day of testing on Monday, Dec. 28. 

It will be complemented by the free testing that has been offered through Lynn Community Health Center during the pandemic, which will continue to remain open by appointment and walk-up through March 31, according to McGee’s office. 

“I am glad that Lynn was selected for one of the four express testing sites being established across the commonwealth,” said McGee. “This new site at the Blossom Street Extension, along with maintaining the critical downtown site at the Lynn Community Health Center, will expand our testing capacity and allow our residents to receive test results back more quickly to assist our public health officials in identifying COVID positive cases to stop the spread sooner. 

“We expect this appointment-based system to be a faster process overall for our residents who will no longer need to wait in lines to be tested, making it as easy as possible to access a test as we continue to take a multi-pronged approach to fight this virus.” 

For example, residents will be able to schedule their test appointment in advance, drive up to the site at their assigned time, be tested from the comfort of their car, and receive their results within 24 hours. 

Residents can create an account, make appointments and view their test results through an online platform that has been set up for Lynn’s Project Beacon express testing site, available at app.beacontesting.com.  

Unlike Lynn Community Health Center’s walk-through site, there will be no pedestrian, walk-up access allowed at the Project Beacon drive-through center. All Massachusetts residents will be able to get tested for free at the new site — no health insurance is required and people seeking a test will not be asked about their immigration status, according to McGee’s office. 

The new, high-volume testing site will launch amid a post-Thanksgiving surge in coronavirus cases that is expected to worsen following the December holidays. 

In Lynn, the post-Thanksgiving spike resulted in three record-setting days for new COVID-19 cases in a 24-hour period over a two-week period earlier this month, which included a single-day high on Dec. 9, when 196 new cases were reported.

The virus surge continued on Wednesday, with the city reporting 187 new cases, which represented its third highest single-day total. Another 134 new cases were reported on Thursday, which brings the city’s caseload to 9,951, according to city data. 

An additional death was also reported in Lynn, which brings the city’s death toll to 147. The city now has 1,769 active cases and 8,035 people have recovered, according to city data. 

Following positive COVID-19 cases reported among several city employees on Tuesday, City Hall will remain closed for the remainder of this week “out of an abundance of caution for full-scale cleaning in sanitation,” according to a notice posted on the city website. 

All previous appointments scheduled with City Hall staff will be canceled and city employees will continue to work remotely for the rest of the week, according to the notice. 

Due to the holidays, all four testing sites that will be operating in the city next week, including the new Project Beacon site, will be closed starting at noon on Dec. 23 and will be closed completely from Dec. 24-25. Project Beacon and Lynn Community Health Center will close at noon on Dec. 30 and will close again on Dec. 31 and Jan 1. 

If residents have any questions about getting tested or encounter issues with scheduling appointments or accessing their test results through Project Beacon, they are directed to visit www.mass.gov/express-testing, call Project Beacon’s call center at 617-741-7310, or send an email to help@beacontesting.com

New virus cases were also reported in Lynnfield, Nahant and Revere, and numbers were not updated in Marblehead, Peabody, Saugus or Swampscott on Thursday. 

Revere reported 121 new cases to bring the city’s total numbers to 5,893 cases and 120 deaths, according to the city website. 

In Lynnfield, 22 new cases were reported to bring the town’s caseload to 540. Seventeen people have died, according to the town website. 

Two new cases were reported in Nahant, which now has 113 cases and six deaths, according to the town website.

As of Wednesday, Peabody had 3,286 cases and 217 deaths, Saugus had 1,847 cases and 46 deaths as of Tuesday, Swampscott had 429 cases and 11 deaths as of Monday, and Marblehead (503 cases, 31 deaths) has not provided updated numbers since last Friday. 

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