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Limited coronavirus testing now available in Monroe County

Mar 14, 2020

Rochester Regional Health can now perform testing for the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, the company said Saturday.

Rochester Regional Health can test suspected COVID-19 cases in "limited" circumstances, the company says.
Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

In an emailed statement, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Robert Mayo described the testing capability as “limited” and available only to people whose “clinical circumstances” warrant it.

A spokesperson for the company said its capacity is 50 to 100 tests per day.

Still, the test is the first available in Monroe County. Suspected COVID-19 cases in the county had previously been sent to Albany and Buffalo for testing, resulting in days of waiting for results that doctors said threatened public health.

Rochester Regional said it expects to grow testing capacity in the future, but “can not speculate on peak volume.”

At least for now, testing is not available on demand. “People arriving at RRH locations requesting testing will be advised to return home and call their healthcare provider,” Mayo said. “It is critical that people who are not feeling well refrain going to places where others are gathered to avoid putting the public at risk.”

The company said people should call their doctor or the county public health department for a consultation before showing up at a clinic.

The University of Rochester Medical Center also expects to begin running COVID-19 tests at its lab on Bailey Road next week.

Earlier on Saturday, Monroe County public health commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said there were likely eight or nine people in the county whose test results were still pending.

Officials said more tests would likely be necessary in the coming days as they grapple with the first confirmed case of community spread of COVID-19 in the Rochester area.