NEW BEDFORD, MASS. (WPRI) ─ The Port of New Bedford has partnered with Southcoast Health to provide COVID-19 testing for the city’s commercial fishing industry.

Beginning Friday, the Southcoast Mobile Health Van was on-site testing fishermen slated to leave port after their results would be made available.

The mobile testing site, located along the port’s waterfront, is a trial run to see if there is an increased need for fishermen to be tested. The pilot will also help New Bedford and Southcoast Health prepare for expanded testing capabilities, including for targeted essential workers.

“COVID-19 has made the most dangerous profession even more dangerous,” Mayor Jon Mitchell said. “Because fishermen are required to work in confined spaces onboard, they are at greater risk of viral transmission than most. For their protection, and to maintain New Bedford’s role as one of America’s primary sources for seafood, we’re proud to launch this effort with Southcoast Health to offer targeted testing to fishing crews.”

While it’s still in its pilot stages, the testing truck is expected to be back at the port this upcoming weekend.