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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today deployed a testing SWAT team to Western New York to address the recent uptick in COVID-19 cases in the region. The team will open free rapid testing sites across the region in partnership with Kaleida Health, Erie County Medical Center, and Catholic Health. Eight new testing sites will open on Saturday, August 29.
Sites will be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Saturday through Wednesday. All residents are eligible for tests and appointments can be made by calling 833-NYSTRNG (697-8764). New York State will deploy 50 rapid testing machines to support the effort and will deploy more as needed. All tests are free of charge and the results will support the contact tracing efforts being conducted to monitor and control the virus spread.
"In Western New York, we have a caution flag out and we're going to fly it a little higher today. The region's infection rate was 2 percent yesterday, which is not good news," Governor Cuomo said."We're going to deploy a SWAT team from the Department of Health that is going to conduct additional testing at eight sites in the region using Abbott testing machines, which provide same-day results literally within the hour. We're focusing on Western New York and we're going to continue to focus on it. Thank you to our partners Kaleida Health, Erie County Medical Center and Catholic Health for their assistance with this effort."
A list of the eight new testing sites is available below:
Deleavan-Grider Community Center
877 E. Delavan Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14215
True Bethel Baptist Church
907 E. Ferry St.
Buffalo, NY 14211
Northwest Buffalo Community Center
155 Lawn Ave.
Buffalo, NY 14207
Dunkirk Fire Murphy Training Grounds
665 Brigham Road
Dunkirk, NY 14048
SUNY ECC North
6205 Main St.
Williamsville, NY 14221
Vigilant Fire Hall
666 Main St.
West Seneca, NY 14224
John A. Duke Senior Center
1201 Hyde Park Blvd.
Niagara Falls, NY 14301
YWCA of the Niagara Frontier
32 Cottage St.
Lockport, NY 14094
Western New York's rate of positive COVID-19 tests has been above 1 percent for nine straight days. The region's daily average number of new cases is now 70 cases per day, the highest since mid-June. It is driven in part by clusters, including a food processing plant in Chautauqua County that has been tied to 53 cases to date, but there is also evidence of community spread which this testing effort is designed to help detect and control.
Jody Lomeo, President & CEO of Kaleida Health, said, "This is a great example of collaboration and working together to help the community when it is in need. The Governor's leadership and initiative to bring rapid testing here this weekend is important from a public health standpoint. With the increase in positive COVID-19 cases across Western New York, it is incumbent upon us - the health system, our government and the community - to come together and help find a solution. Collectively, we all need to continue to do all that we can to expand testing and ensuring access in the community for anyone who wants or needs to get tested."
Thomas J. Quatroche Jr., PhD, President and CEO, Erie County Medical Center Corporation said, "ECMC is very appreciative of Governor Cuomo's leadership and commitment to the health and safety of the residents of Western New York and our frontline workers. Our dedicated and experienced caregivers are ready to support the activation of the state's rapid test sites, which will provide us with valuable information on the spread of the COVID-19 virus. With our partners at Kaleida Health and other healthcare providers, we ask our fellow citizens to continue to adhere to vitally important precautions like masking, social distancing and hand hygiene to ensure we protect our family, friends and neighbors."
Catholic Health President & CEO Mark Sullivan said, "New York's ability to effectively test and contact trace depends on close collaboration between the state and its hospitals, and we are proud to partner with Governor Cuomo in this latest effort to address a spike in Western New York's rate of positive COVID-19 tests. Together we will use our shared resources to provide free rapid COVID testing in more places so we can continue to slow the spread and save lives in the region."
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