TestMV, the Island’s free coronavirus testing site, will close at the end of March, some 22 months after it launched to overwhelming demand at the start of the pandemic.

In a news release, organizers cited the widespread availability of rapid over-the-counter tests, a drop in new Covid-19 cases Islandwide and the ongoing ability of the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital to provide PCR testing in its decision to fold up its tents on March 31.

A unique partnership among QuestDiagnostics, the Island boards of health, the Martha’s Vineyard Bank and Island Health Care, the drive-up testing operation opened June 1, 2020 at the Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School. Its call center was immediately flooded.

Six weeks later, on July 22, Quest created an app that allowed for online or same-day registration. Test MV had its peak volume of users the week before Thanksgiving in 2020, when the testing site completed 1,705 tests, with 438 in a single day.

“TestMV was the key in keeping our numbers down in that first summer of Covid-19,” Tisbury Health Agent Maura Valley said in the news release. Ms. Valley compiles the daily and weekly Covid test results for the Island boards of health.

“It allowed new employees, seasonal residents, and visitors to get tested when they first arrived and, if positive, to isolate. And throughout the pandemic, TestMV enabled us to monitor surges and get people tested quickly when they were exposed. It’s been invaluable.”

The original site at the high school operated six days a week until Feb. 1, 2020, when it went to five days. It later moved to the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury, where it operates four days a week. Over the summer of 2021, the West Tisbury School hosted TestMV.

In the news release, organizers said TestMV has operated nearly 500 days, only closing for 30 minutes one day due to a rare tornado warning, and a single full day due to a Jan. 31, 2022 blizzard. The call center, which included Portuguese-speaking operators, logged more than 35,000 requests for appointments.

The operational oversight was conducted by Island Health Care, aided by 134 volunteers, both clinical and general, and including students and retirees who were involved in everything from traffic control to collecting samples.

In the news release, Cynthia Mitchell, CEO of Island Health Care, credited Quest CEO Steve Rusckowski and his wife, Deb, who are seasonal Edgartown residents, with launching the testing program.

“The health agents have literally been rock stars from the get-go and the Martha’s Vineyard Bank ensured from the beginning that PCR tests would be free to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay,” Ms. Mitchell added.