MONTICELLO, NY — If you need or want a test for the coronavirus, you should do a bit of legwork first.
“You can’t just show up and ask for a test,” said Sullivan County Public Health Director Nancy McGraw at the Thursday, October 8 meeting of the health and family services committee meeting.
For one thing, you have to have an appointment.
She listed a number of other points that those new to coronavirus testing should keep in mind.
“In about 50 percent of locations, you will need to have symptoms.”
There may be a fee. Even if you have insurance, there may be costs on top of that.
If you go to a health care group, you may or may not have to be an established patient with that group.
Christine Panos, from the county’s wellness committee, collected testing information from local providers. “The only truly free sites are the state-operated drive-through testing sites,” McGraw said. And you still need an appointment.
The best thing to do, she added, is to call a site before you go, and ask about fees and other requirements.
The county’s covid dashboard links to an updated list of testing sites. Here’s the link as of October 9: www.bit.ly/sullivancovid
And testing matters because cases are on the rise
As of Friday, October 9, the county’s coronavirus dashboard showed 35 active cases of COVID-19. There are 234 people in quarantine. Two people are hospitalized; one is on a ventilator.
Those numbers are still very low, McGraw said, especially when you compare them to May’s total of 540. “We don’t want to go there again.”
There have been single positive cases in Tri-Valley and Monticello school districts, and administrators, working with public health, are managing the situation, she said.
Four staff members at the Care Center at Sunset Lake have tested positive, family services commissioner John Liddle reported. “No COVID-positive residents,” he said.
There was some discussion at the health and family services committee meeting about recently televised gatherings in Fallsburg: many, many people, without masks, gathered together and celebrating.
Everyone seemed to find out via the news. And of course, these gatherings are in defiance of New York’s laws, laid out on the NY Forward site: www.forward.ny.gov/statewide-guidelines.
“There’s a procedure for complaints,” McGraw said, public health director. You can call NY Forward at 1-833/789-0470.
Chair Nadia Rajsz was concerned that the shutdowns in New York City “would come back and hurt us here.”
Then the county will do what worked before, “to be prepared in the event that we continue to see large gatherings,” McGraw said.
New York state requires it. And if you’ve been exposed to someone who tested positive, McGraw said, you will get a call.
There had been some discussion about phone scams earlier in the meeting. If you get a call from a 518 area code, and it comes up on your caller ID as NYS Contract Tracing, then “please answer it,” she said. By getting people to comply with contact tracing, “we can try to stay open.”
Because that is still a thing.
McGraw mentioned drive-through flu vaccine clinics. Preregistration is required. Clinics are for Sullivan County residents, and you must be 18 or over to get a shot. You’ll need to bring a photo ID and wear a mask. If you don’t feel well, don’t go until you feel better.
“By the way,” McGraw said, “please get your flu shot.”
Call the department for more information at 845/292-5910.
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