ALBANY, NY – The state is sending hundreds-of-thousands of rapid COVID-19 test kits to counties across the state.
But, county leaders say they need more support from the state to help administer them.
NewsChannel 34’s Corina Cappabianca has the latest.
Last week Governor Cuomo announced that 400,000 rapid test kits would be dispersed.
Sarah Ravenhall, the Executive Director of the New York State Association of County Health Officials says counties in yellow cluster zones have begun receiving kits, and local health departments in other areas are applying to obtain them.
((Sarah Ravenhall, NYSCACHO Executive Director)) We are so pleased to hear that the test kits are going to be distributed across the state. That is something that we’ve been asking for for a long time. It’s very important to help communities and identify where there are cases of COVID.
According to spokesperson Jonah Bruno at the state department of health, New York is providing Abbott ID Now and Abbott Binax Now tests.
He says “the federal government is distributing Abbott Binax Now testing kits to states for free. The Abbott ID Now tests were purchased using federal funds.”
He also says “point of care testing is more efficient and cost effective than using only lab-based tests.”
Ravenhall say while the testing is important, many local health departments don’t have the personnel capacity to send out staff to administer the tests, particularly with schools with the 20% testing requirement.
((Sarah Ravenhall, NYSCACHO Executive Director)) We need support with staffing. We need trained staff who know how to administer the tests, how to interpret the results of the tests, know how to link people with providers after their test comes back positive.
In response to those concerns, Bruno said, the “DOH has been in regular communication with counties and schools throughout the state on how best to meet the resource needs of the local health departments.”
Ravenhall says while local health departments have been working with community partners, they cannot rely on those organizations for help alone.