Niagara County Community College has been chosen by New York state to become a drive-through COVID-19 testing facility, Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel Stapleton announced on Monday.
Stapleton noted the testing, which is being done through the state, will be by appointment only.
"You can’t have 1,000, 2,000 cars coming through without having some organization. It will be pre-registered people," Stapleton said.
Testing has seriously ramped with the county health department as well, Stapleton said. He said another 400 county residents have been tested since Friday. Kaleida Health and Erie County both gave 600 testing kits each to Niagara County, Stapleton said.
"The testing has never been as busy and as rampant as it is right now," he said.
Although Niagara County isn't operating the drive-through testing facility at NCCC, Stapleton promised his department would provide whatever help the state might need in terms of logistics or manpower.
In a Monday phone interview, Stapleton said the increased supply of testing kits is "a major improvement" but noted testing is still "nowhere close to what I'd like." Stapleton said health officials need as much data as possible and he believes testing needs to ramp up even more.
Stapleton said, with the state operating the NCCC facility, he doesn't know what requirements must be met for someone to be tested. He said the facility is expected to be open by the end of the week.
"I know it will be this week for sure, no doubt about it. I just can't say when," Stapleton said.
The New York State Health Department website says the drive-through testing sites are prioritizing sampling for symptomatic people of the highest risk populations, which are health care workers, nursing home employees and first responders.
To schedule an appointment for NCCC's testing, residents are encouraged to call 1-888-364-3065.
In addition on Monday, representatives from Niagara Falls Urgent Care said their location on Military Road has been testing for more than a week and is now offering testing for patients who have recently had symptoms of COVID-19 or who have been exposed to someone who is positive for the virus. Company officials said nasal swab testing is avaialable to determine if people are currently infected with the virus as well as blood antibody testing to find out if someone was previously infected with the virus.
Testing will be available seven days a week at our facility. No appointment is necessary, according to Urgent Care representatives. Results typically come back within three days.
For more information, residents are encouraged to call 716-297-2052.
The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Niagara County on Monday rose by 16 to a total of 410. As of Monday, there were 207 individuals in isolation (187 at home and 20 in hospitals), 21 deaths and 2,076 people tested.