Broome County Health Department wins national award for COVID testing bus

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BINGHAMTON, NY- Local public health officials have been recognized by their colleagues across the country for their creative approach to providing COVID testing during the pandemic.

The Broome County Health Department is one of 8 local departments to receive the 2021 Gold Innovative Practice Award from the National Association of County and City Health Officials.

The health department is being honored for the creation of a mobile COVID testing operation set up inside a repurposed B-C Transit bus.

In response to a coronavirus cluster that sprung up on the Westside of Binghamton last October, the state provided 11 rapid testing machines and thousands of tests to speed the identification of new hot spots throughout the county.

The lab bus was outfitted with 7 of those machines and was able to travel to more than a dozen communities in Broome County, some in more remote locations like Whitney Point and Kirkwood.

Over 6,100 tests were performed over several months.

“I’m very proud of the work we did here and I think the community can be very proud too. This is an example, one of many over the years, of our entire community coming together to do some thing amazing and some thing important to help take care of each other,” says Medical Director Dr. Christopher Ryan.

County officials say the concept and creation of the lab bus was developed quickly as a collaboration between the health department, the Office of Emergency Services and B-C Transit.

They also praised the community partners who hosted the bus for one or two week intervals.

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