COVID-19 testing supply and demand in Monroe County, push to expand

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC) — Monroe County’s Commissioner of Public Health spoke out after 373 COVID-19 cases were announced on Thursday.

“That’s a record,” Dr. Michael Mendoza said, “and that’s a record I don’t want to break.”

“The virus is still here. Our numbers are still too high,” says Monroe County Executive Adam Bello.

When it comes to the supply and demand of COVID-19 tests, the County Executive wants to let the public know Albany is helping to keep the inventory stocked, at least at the Monroe Community College site.

“We have advocated to New York State for them to increase the testing availability to the public, and I’m glad New York State has responded to our request,” he says.

Bello says the MCC testing site will now be expanding to a seven day a week operation — the tests, free to the public. “So we can continue to test people who are symptomatic and also people who want to know if they’re positive,” he says.

Bello says across the board, he wants to see a greater prevalence of testing. It’s already being done in schools, and they’re working with the state on expanding that into the community. He says that can show where COVID-19 is clustered, and how they can then contain.

“We need to be able to go into those sectors, be it bars, restaurants, or other types of gatherings,” he says.

Dr. Bonnie Litvach, the President of the Medical Society of New York State, says testing labs have been strained on a national level, but New York labs have been doing okay. However, she says trends show we’re going to have to keep the momentum going as numbers go up.

“There are waits and that is concerning to us, because we need people to be tested in order to fight this and fight community spread,” says Litvach.

Dr. Richard Zane with University of Colorado Health says we’ve been using tests that are cheaper to make, trying to keep up with demand. “I think that there has been no national strategy for testing, and we have far outstripped local resources in most of the country,” says Dr. Zane.

Bello says we can avoid an elevation to the ‘orange zone’, the key is following Covid protocol, and again, greater access to testing. “We can turn this around. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again,” he says.

VIA ROCHESTER FIRST

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