National Guard tests first-responders in Bristol and Warren


The Rhode Island National Guard rolled into Bristol on Thursday afternoon and set up a mobile COVID-19 testing facility at the Bristol Fire Department headquarters.

Working out of two trailers pulled by pickup trucks, the Guard unit tested dozens of police officers, firefighters, paramedics and first-responder support personnel from both Bristol and Warren.

Patients registered at the first trailer, then sat down to be tested in the second trailer. Aside from waiting in line, the whole process took a few minutes. The test itself is a swab, with a long Q-Tip inserted deep into the nasal cavity.

Bristol Police Chief Kevin Lynch, his command staff and many of the Bristol patrolmen were among the first to go through the process.

The Guard unit has been testing first-responders throughout Rhode Island for several days. A member of the Guard team said results are sent to a lab in New Jersey, and results are expected in about three days.

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.