“We’ve taken some 850 people off the street who were walking around, asymptomatic,” Dr. Pollock said. “Every infection caught prevents, like, three more infections. And for every one of those three, three more get prevented, and so on. That has to make a difference, right?”
Outside the test center, Mr. Duey, a web developer, said twice-weekly testing had made it possible for his 14-year-old son, Bowen, to spend time with friends from school and to attend remote classes in masks in each others’ backyards. It also enabled his wife, a nurse practitioner, to quickly isolate after she became infected in December.
Ms. Hayes, 71, and her wife, Paula Ash, 70, who were getting tested in advance of a vaccine appointment, said they had seen TV ads about the free tests produced by the university and had come at the behest of their daughter, a local teacher. Dr. Pham, a family physician who had already gotten the vaccine, saw the screenings as a way for her teenage sons to finally visit their grandparents, whom they have not seen in months.
“Hey, better safe than sorry,” said Marc Hicks, 54, a school district employee whose infection was caught in November three days before he experienced symptoms. The lead time, he said, enabled him to notify his supervisor at work and made it possible for contact tracers to identify people he might have infected. He still comes in every week, he said, because he cannot be sure whether he is immune or not.