MIDDLETOWN, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — The response to COVID-19 has required some creativity, and a local man is making use of unused shipping containers.
CBS2’s Meg Baker got a look inside a 20-foot by 8-foot shipping container repurposed as a testing facility. It is located in the commuter parking lot at the Middletown train station.READ MORE: Sources: Salman Muflihi Faces Hate Crime Charges In Stabbing Of Asian Man In Lower Manhattan
“They come in, they are relatively new. We wash them down. We insulate them. We set it up as a four-room COVID testing site,” Immediate Care Walk-In Management CEO Sal Cannizzaro told Baker.
Cannizzaro wanted to find a way to safely test people without having to mix with sick patients at urgent cares or hospital settings. So he thought, why not make good use of shipping containers that were piling up in the state’s ports.
“The backlog in containers occurred during pretty much the three-month shutdown, when nothing was shipping either way in or out. So there was a backlog of these readily available,” he said.
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Salerno Medical Associates in East Orange is doing the same, swabbing patients inside winterized shipping containers to keep up with testing demand.
Cannizzaro set up seven other state-approved testing facilities in partnership with municipalities. Each is able to test 300 people a day.
You pull up in cars, do a saliva test, step into one of the bay windows, hand over your insurance and contact information, and get a result within 48 hours.READ MORE: Elizabeth Galarza Arrested For Allegedly Repeatedly Punching 2-Year-Old In The Face On Subway
“It was very easy, and we like being able to spit instead of swab our noses,” said Middltown resident Jessica McEvily.
The CEO said the shipping container sites are also ready to switch gears from testing to vaccinations.
“I believe this is where the big need is now,” Cannizzaro said.
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The containers may look small, but the director of operations says they have enough room to administer shots, then keep them for 15 minutes.
“Move them over to next room, to monitor them,” said Robert Hargraves.
The company also has a mobile van that goes directly to businesses — a simple, efficient way to test employees without exposing them elsewhere.
The shipping containers have HVAC systems and negative air pressure with exhaust fans installed to keep the air clean and circulating.MORE NEWS: New Yorkers At Bronx Food Pantry Describe Need For Federal Stimulus Checks, $15 Minimum Wage; 'Got To Choose Between Rent, Food'
CBS2’s Meg Baker contributed to this report.