New Jersey begins using retrofitted shipping containers as COVID-19 testing sites
Shipping containers – whether empty or full – are a regular feature of the New Jersey landscape. And now, several of these containers are being put to new use as sites for COVID-19 testing.
“You can see there’s air conditioning and heat. Four window openings to access the patients,” says Immediate Care CEO Sal Cannizzaro.
Immediate Care is a chain of walk-in urgent care clinics. The company began operating satellite testing sites for the past few months, mostly out of tents and vans. Cannizzaro came up with the idea to use shipping containers.
“We’re working with a local company. We designed them and customized them on the interior as medical suites,” he says. “And these provide everything you need to see the patient.”
There are now five shipping container suites in operation in New Jersey. Cannizzaro has a new company, Mobile Health Solutions, outfitting the containers and selling them to providers.
Shipping containers are something that New Jersey has a lot of lying around. In the early 2010s, mountains of containers arose in port cities like Newark as a result of the United States’ growing trade deficit with China. They arrived full, but the U.S. wasn’t exporting enough items to send them back full.
In recent years, shipping containers have been put to use as boardwalk concession stands, mobile bathrooms and even for housing.
And with authorities scrambling to come up with a way to vaccinate millions of New Jerseyans with the COVID-19 vaccines, Cannizzaro says that he sees more potential for his new business.
Immediate Care is also using shipping containers at its testing sites in Marlboro, Old Bridge and East Windsor.