Accuracy still unknown for many coronavirus tests rushed out

A nurse uses a swab to perform a coronavirus test in Salt Lake City. Months into the outbreak, no one really knows how well many of the screening tests work, and experts at top medical centers say it is time to do the studies to find out.

The Niagara County Department of Health is offering free drive-through COVID-19 testing every Wednesday starting with appointments as early as 9:30 a.m. at the public safety training facility in Lockport.

Testing for COVID-19 leads to quick identification of cases, medical support for those that need it and immediate isolation of the person to prevent spread. Close contacts to positive cases are considered quarantines to further reduce spread.

“Testing remains a vital tool for public health to monitor the COVID-19 infection rate as well as to reduce the impact of a second wave this fall,” Daniel J. Stapleton, Niagara County public health director, said.

Added Elise Pignatora, director of Public Health Planning and Emergency Preparedness, “We have been offering free sample collection since early April in partnership with Niagara County Emergency Management, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, HazMat and our Niagara County Medical Reserve Corps Volunteers.”

Aligned with the New York State COVID-19 diagnostic testing guidance, eligibility for testing has evolved over time.

“We have expanded eligibility and encourage persons interested in COVID-19 testing to call 278-1900 to pre-register,” Stapleton said. “Our testing site is free, it does not require a doctor’s order, and our nurses will call you with results in about two to four days.”

Those eligible for COVID-19 testing include but are not limited to an individual who:

• Returned to the workplace in Phase 1 or Phase 2

• Attended any of the recent protests across the state or any other large gathering

• Is employed as a health care worker, first responder, or other essential worker who directly interacts with the public while working

• Is currently under public health quarantine

• Is pregnant

For more information about COVID-19 and other test sites (including antibody testing) visit:

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