With the recent surge, the COVID-19 testing line averaged seven hours – and between 300 and 400 carloads – on Monday and Tuesday outside of Square One Mall.
Everett resident Oziel Silva arrived at 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday and was first in line – waiting approximately eight hours. He added that he was prepared for a long wait time. Cars were lined up at the former Sears store to Dick’s Sporting Goods. “I have to do it to save a life,” Silva said. “I’ve been experiencing some symptoms and wouldn’t want to spread it to anyone else.”
Saugus resident Jennifer Powers, whose family tested positive for COVID-19, was second in line on Tuesday. She arrived at 7 a.m., waiting nearly seven hours. Powers switched with her mother to alleviate waiting times. “There has got to be a better way,” Powers said. “I’m not sure what can be done, but I’m sure someone will come up with a remedy.”
On Monday, Saugus resident Deborah Barrett-Cutulle arrived at noon, and she waited seven hours, getting tested at approximately 7 p.m. Barrett-Cutulle described the scene. “We watched people (at least 2 cars) having to put gas in their cars,” she said. “We saw some people get out of their car to go get food in the mall for their families and to take their children to the mall restroom.”
To alleviate wait time, she thinks, arrangements should be made to have at least three or four technicians taking tests for each line. On Tuesday, there were two technicians.
She came somewhat prepared, but it wasn’t enough. “We wished we had brought more food with us,” Barrett-Cutulle said. “We only brought one bag of sweet and salty kettle popcorn, and we were afraid to drink water in fear of needing to go the bathroom.”
They watched someone deliver food to one of the cars. “If I had known the car in front of us was headed into the mall for food, not just the restroom, I would have asked them to get us something,” Barrett-Cutulle said. “We were stranded in our car because we left the house with our pajamas on never imaging it would take seven hours.”
They brought a tablet to watch shows on Netflix while they waited.