All but one county-run COVID-19 testing sites to close Tuesday
Citing a “new stage of this pandemic,” Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said Monday that all but one of the county-run COVID-19 testing sites will close Tuesday.
“With our COVID case numbers steadily declining over the past month and free vaccines and boosters more widely available, it’s clear we are in a new stage of this pandemic,” Bello said in a statement. “Our focus now is on making home testing more accessible by partnering with the library system that reaches every corner of the county.”
The remaining county-run antigen testing site will operate from 4 to 7 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 804 N. Goodman St.
In a news conference Monday afternoon, Bello also said free home rapid test kits are now available to the public at several Monroe County libraries during their normal operating hours.
"We want to thank the library for working with us on that and all the librarians who are adding, you know, just another thing to the list of all the various services that they that they provide for our community and being able to help distribute these rapid test kits,” Bello said.
Monroe County Public Libraries Director Patty Uttaro called the libraries “natural partners for community distributions” since the facilities see more than 3 million visits per year.
Libraries in Greece, Parma, Chili, East Rochester, Webster, Hamlin and Scottsville will not distribute tests.
For a full list of library locations and hours, go to https://libraryweb.org/hours/locations-hours/.
The county will continue to provide several free vaccination sites:
- Pittsford Plaza, 3349 Monroe Ave.: 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
- The Mall at Greece Ridge, 112 Greece Ridge Center Drive: 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays; 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
- MCC Downtown Campus, 321 State St.: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- 804 N. Goodman St.: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.
- Monroe County Fleet Center, 145 Paul Road: 1 to 3:45 p.m. Wednesdays through Fridays.
- Edgerton R Center, 41 Backus St. 1 to 4 p.m. Sundays.
The county said mobile vaccination sites at area libraries and schools remain available.
For more information or to make a vaccination appointment, go to monroecounty.gov/health-covid19-vaccine.
With the statewide school mask mandate being lifted on Wednesday, Bello also said that Monroe County does not plan to implement its own mask requirement for schools.
"We support (Gov. Kathy Hochul's) decision to lift the mask requirement," Bello said. "And believe that this would be a choice that families will be making in the coming days and weeks for their children."
He stressed, though, that the community needs to be respectful to those who choose to continue wearing masks.
In neighboring Ontario County, officials said Monday that they will be lifting the mask mandate in schools despite the county’s high transmission rate.
Mary Beer, the county’s public health director, said the decision is partly due to Monroe County’s policies.
She said it would be difficult to effectively police residents commuting back and forth between both counties.
“We have people that live on the border, that live in Monroe and go to school in Ontario," she said. "And so in talking with the superintendents, and with our supervisors, we just felt that we need to start changing our mindset a little bit.”
Beer said residents will have to eventually learn how to live with COVID in our communities. She said this starts by doing what’s best for you and your loved ones.
“You need to assess your own risk ... what your children's health risks are, and then act accordingly,” she said.
Beer said she feels confident in the decision but will be monitoring the infection rate very closely.