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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Sept. 10, 2021) – A sign directs traffic to the COVID-19 testing site at Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP), Sept. 10. The testing site was moved from indoors back to an outdoor location to improve and reduce traffic flow within the medical center, and allow for more individuals to be tested. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Ariana Torman/Released)

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (Sept, 10, 2021) – Naval Medical Center Portsmouth (NMCP) reestablished its outdoor COVID-19 testing tents, Sept. 10.

An outdoor COVID-19 testing site was first created at NMCP in March 2020 when large white tents were put up to triage, test and treat low-acuity patients who suspected they had COVID-19, and to protect the medical staff by allowing them to test in an open-air environment.

On June 15, the original tents were taken down and testing was moved to primary care locations within NMCP and at some of the medical center’s outlying clinics.

“We are moving the testing site out of the medical center because we have had an increase in individuals needing testing, and not due to safety concerns of having the testing site location inside,” said Cmdr. Tarail Vernon, NMCP’s Public Health Services director.

Due to the recent spikes in COVID-19 infection numbers, attributed to the highly-contagious Delta variant and the large number of unvaccinated individuals, the decision was made to move the testing back outside to a new location on the base. “Reestablishing the drive-thru testing site allows us to accommodate more people,” added Vernon.

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