COVID testing tent coming down at Saratoga Hospital after 2 1/2 years

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It was put up at a time of fear and panic, and 30 months later, the COVID testing tent at Saratoga Hospital is coming down.

The hospital is proud of how it rallied when the community needed it, but says home testing allows them to fold up the tent.

It all started with a pop-up, and then facilities built something more permanent.

At the peak of the pandemic, hundreds of people were being tested there. They’d drive up in their cars and hospital staff wearing PPE would hand them a swab and tell them how to test. It was here when it was needed.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Richard Falivena says they did 350,000 tests there – roughly one and a half times the population of Saratoga County.

The hospital scrambled to put it together in March 2020 and says it’s the longest continually operating testing site in the Capital Region. They did it every day through surges, shortages, and even a blizzard.

The tent will come down at 7 a.m. Friday. After that, testing will take place at indoor locations.

Falivena says times have changed with more people testing at home and less people testing overall.

However, while COVID testing has slowed, Falivena is worried it could be a difficult flu season, so he’s encouraging people to get the flu shot.