If ever there was an event signaling a change in the COVID-19 era it is the closing of the nation’s first drive through testing center for the deadly virus at the Westchester County Glen Island Park in New Rochelle.
The testing post will close Friday, June 25. Westchester County Executive George Latimer calls the closing “Another sign that we are winning the war against COVID-19…with over 74% of the County vaccinated, we are are entering another phase of life.”
The nation’s first large scale COVID testing site opened on March 13, 2020 at Glen Island Park at a time when New Rochelle was the epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. with the most diagnosed cases in the country. In those first days the location was a somewhat disconcerting sight site that marked the beginning of the unknown fears of a widespread deadly virus. People with and without symptoms waited in their cars for hours through the slow moving traffic lanes which led to the giant white tents staffed with medical personnel donned in hazmat suits, face masks and face shields and New York National Guardsman in military fatigues.
The months of traffic queues succumbed as the number of testing sites expanded and the vaccine rollout ramped up. This summer, Glen Island Park reopens as a respite for park and beach goers without the gloomy reminder of a world upended by a pandemic.