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Monroe County opens new COVID-19 rapid PCR testing site for students; vaccination rate is above 80%

Max Schulte

Monroe County officials have some good news for parents needing COVID-19 PCR testing for their children to return to school.

“Pediatric PCR testing is now available at the Monroe County Fleet Center on Paul Road,” said County Executive Adam Bello during a COVID briefing on Friday.

Bello said testing is only available for children ages 4-19 who are enrolled in a K-12 school and are not under quarantine by the Department of Health.

He said kids must also be symptom and fever-free without medication for 24 hours.

“This testing site will also reduce the current burden on our local pediatricians who are overwhelmed right now with testing requests since the school year started,” Bello said.

The drive-thru site is currently able to process only 60 tests a day--so appointments must be made. Results will be given within a few hours.

In neighboring Ontario County, school districts have already launched rapid PCR testing on-site; something Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said is being explored for Monroe County.

“Up and down the street are less populated than right here in Monroe County,” said Mendoza, “So we have a lot more coordinating to do with our local health care systems, the pediatricians and family doctors' offices.” He said more information on the status of that decision will be shared in the weeks to come.

County officials had more good news to share about its COVID-19 vaccination efforts.

Bello said that more than 80% of residents, ages 18 and older, have received at least one vaccine dose.

“Your decision will keep yourself your loved ones and your neighbors safe. With that said our fight is still not over,” Bello said.

New cases have been on the rise this week, with more than 200 reported on several days. In an effort to get more people vaccinated, Bello announced two new vaccination sites—one in the Pittsford Plaza where Stein Mart once occupied, and the other where the old Bed, Bath and Beyond was located in the mall at Greece Ridge.

Both will open next week, and will be stocked with each vaccine- including the Moderna booster when it becomes available.

Bello said the days and times of operation for both sites will be available Monday on the county’s website, and walk-ins will be welcomed.

“Getting vaccinated continues to be the best and most effective tool our community has to combat COVID-19,” said Bello “It's safe, it's free, and it works.”

Racquel Stephen is a health and environment reporter. She holds a bachelor's degree in English literature from the University of Rochester and a master's degree in broadcasting and digital journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University.