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Health

Rapid PCR testing devices for COVID-19 to be placed in Monroe County schools

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Monroe County is preparing to bring rapid PCR testing devices for COVID-19 to school districts.

County Executive Adam Bello said Thursday that the county recently purchased 100 of the portable devices.

“We're working with the public, private and charter schools on guidelines, and they will share that information with their families when they're ready,” Bello said.

Under current state mandates, students who have had COVID-like symptoms can’t return to school until they attain a negative PCR test. 

The county had recently set up rapid PCR testing at its Fleet Center on Paul Road. Bello said extending the testing to school districts will help relieve some of the backlog at doctors’ offices, and get kids back in school sooner.

Dr. Michael Mendoza, the county’s public health commissioner, said the kits will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“We are going to try to be as equitable as possible in distributing these test machines,” Mendoza said. “We're working with all the schools to meet them where they are, and figure out what works best for them.”

Mendoza said getting kits into the Rochester City School District is a priority.

“We want to make sure that we're focusing primarily in the city where we know that the vaccine numbers are a little lower than the rest of the county,” Mendoza said.

Mendoza said the county will identify which schools receive the kits after they’re distributed. 

The kits may be delivered as soon as next week, and the county will train school staff on how to use the device.

Ontario County started rapid PCR testing at schools earlier this month.