MIDDLETOWN, Conn. (WTNH) — With kids back in school and some workers facing COVID-19 vaccine or testing mandates, officials are taking steps to increase access to testing sites. In Middletown, officials are offering an easier way to test.

“We recognized that there was sort of a gap that was starting to emerge in testing becoming available, especially easily accessible testing,” Middletown Mayor Ben Florsheim said Thursday.

State health officials reported 363 infections in Middletown since Aug. 2 — a big jump from 85 cases in June and July combined.

The city, the state Department of Health, and Cross Street AME Zion Church are partnering on a drive-thru testing site open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

The testing center offers saliva-based PCR tests, which are less intrusive than a nasal swab, with results within 24 hours.

“What has been very important for us is to really help people, especially people of color to get vaccinated, to get tested, so that they can live and not die because there’s just been too many,” Rev. Robyn Anderson, the executive director of Ministerial Health Fellowship at Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church said.

A saliva-based PCR test is straightforward, Wren Laboratories’ Laboratory Director Mark Kidd said.

“What we’re doing here is we’re providing testing both for state employees and teachers, police officers, troopers, walk-ins, kids that need a negative test to her back into school,” Kidd said. “What we’re really trying to do is get Connecticut going again.”

The entire operation is based out of Branford’s Wren Laboratories, which is in talks with the state about potentially expanding testing sites.

Right now, you can get a saliva-based PCR test in Middletown and Meriden, but you will need a smartphone to scan the bar code and enter your information.

The mobile testing site at the Cross Street A.M.E. Zion Church in Middletown is open Tuesdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and Saturdays from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The testing site at 13 Orange St. in Meriden is open Tuesdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon and Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Looking for a COVID-19 testing site or vaccine clinic near you? Visit 211ct.org.