By Len La Rocca
Campus Town residents are used to a quiet, safe environment, soup from Panera Bread and dessert from Insomnia Cookies — not hazmat suits, medical waste littering the streets or the increasing fear of COVID-19.
Coronavirus testing at InFocus Urgent Care in Ewing was shut down on Wednesday, March 18 by its landlord company, the PRC Group, due to the threat posed to residents and workers of Campus Town.
“Could you imagine if a testing center opened up and you had all these cars lined up in front of your house?” said Greg Lentine, the Vice President of the PRC Group. “Parents were calling us up: ‘Are my students safe?’ Retailers were sending us videos: ‘This is crazy, we can’t even get outside our store. The area is contaminated.’”
PRC group has offered to move testing from Campus Town to the Lanning School in Ewing, which is another property owned by the company.
In an interview with The Signal, Ewing Mayor Bert Steinmann voiced his support for this alternative.
“The offer was extended to Urgent Care that they could move across the street to the Lanning School,” Steinmann said. “We as a town have absolutely no issue. We welcome more testing sites into Ewing Township. Unfortunately, it has got to be in the proper place and to make sure that they are licensed to do that by the DOH (Department of Health). I’m hoping that she will do that.”
In the meantime, Mercer County residents are concerned about losing a testing location. According to Lentine, PRC intends to help set up testing at the Lanning School, but the company has not yet heard back from Seeta Arjun, Medical Director of InFocus Urgent Care.
One Ewing resident, Eden Richman, headed to Campus Town for a COVID-19 test, but was instead met with a “Closed” sign in InFocus’ window.
“It’s just really frustrating. I had to go to the West Windsor (Urgent Care) location,” Richman said. “It really is ridiculous that this landlord is pulling this.”
While some residents believe that PRC Group’s actions are irresponsible, others insist that the testing in Campus Town posed a threat to the community.
“We are supposed to be doing social separation,” Lentine said. “This is now compacting people in one area that may or may not be sick. People who were on line to be tested were actually outside their cars, throwing stuff into the garbage pails. We found medical waste in the street … we don’t have hazmat suits.”
According to PRC Group, they intend on helping set up testing at Lanning School, but have not yet heard back from the head doctor of Urgent Care.
“That offer was extended to her on Monday, and she did not want to budge from there,” Steinmann said.
Regardless of the location for testing, these uncertain times are instilling panic in citizens who believe convenient testing is more important than complying with resident complaints.
“I can understand that the trash and the refuse is a problem,” Richman said. “But they’re saying the tenants are complaining? Well, who needs pizza or cookies or ice cream right now?”
Mayor Steinmann clarified that if the head doctor of Ewing’s Urgent Care agrees to move the testing to the Lanning School, Ewing residents will once again have a local place to test for COVID-19.
“I just want to reiterate that we are fine with any legal testing that can be done in a safe and orderly manner,” Steinmann said. “Whenever that is going to be, we are in support of that.”