JAMESTOWN – Spots for Chautauqua County’s first COVID-19 rapid testing site in Jamestown filled up in several hours, according to health officials organizing the effort.
First announced on Monday, the two-day rapid testing availability will serve more than 60 people.
Chautauqua County Health Department Epidemiologist Breeanne Agett says unlike other COVID-19 testing clinics, the rapid testing has its own advantages and disadvantages.
The biggest pro, Agett says, is that results come back in 15 minutes, however, staff can only serve one person at a time in various intervals.
“In contrast to some of the testing that had been done earlier, like with Feildbrook for example, we swabbed people, put that swab in a viral media tube and shipped that off to a lab so it went along very quickly,” said Agett. “Whereas with the rapid test we can only schedule one person, per machine, for every 15 minutes, so that’s four people, per machine, per hour, so unfortunately we don’t have as many slots as we would have if we sent it to a lab.”
Agett says that she wasn’t surprised to see spots fill up as quickly as they did because of various testing mandates in place by New York State.
Those looking to visit nursing homes for example must test negative for COVID-19 prior to their visit.
Agett also says residents who show symptoms of the virus, but could also have the common cold, can benefit from the fast turnaround in results.
“Some of those kids in school, maybe they have cold symptoms, want to get back to school right away, if they are COVID-19 negative and have a doctor’s note they can get back right away instead of having to wait 10 days in some cases,” explained Agett.
The Epidemiologist says that the process to sign up for the free test is simple, all residents have to do is call the county at 1-866-604-6789 and answer a few questions.
Once an appointment is scheduled, Agett says residents will be asked to come only at their appointment time and not wait around.
“We are not able to do walk in clinics at this time, so we want to make sure that it is as clean and as safe as possible for everybody,” said Agett.
She says other rapid testing clinics will be scheduled throughout the month of October. She urges residents interested in getting tested to sign up for appointments as quickly as possible.
Four rapid testing machines and 1,000 testing kits provided by New York State first arrived in the county last week.