Orange zone communities look to rapid testing to limit shutdowns

Nov 24, 2020

A worker at the state-run coronavirus testing site at Monroe Community College's Brighton campus directs a driver through the parking lot.
Credit Max Schulte/WXXI News

The supervisors of the towns of Brighton and Irondequoit say they hope to have drive-through sites set up for rapid coronavirus testing as soon as next week.

Sections of both towns are in so-called orange zones under the state's microcluster strategy to manage rising transmission rates of the virus. Other orange zones are in the city of Rochester and the town of Gates.

Irondequoit Supervisor Dave Seeley said rapid testing has worked to keep schools safe, and it should be expanded so every member of the community has access.

"I think we need to know who has the virus and we also need to work to get our positivity rate down, and testing really is the remedy to that," he said.
Seeley and Brighton Supervisor Bill Moehle both said they are finalizing these plans with Monroe County, which is providing the tests.

As part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's targeted approach to curtailing the resurgence of COVID-19, a new round of restrictions begin Wednesday for orange zone schools and businesses.

Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce President Bob Duffy said individuals will determine how long the restrictions last. He said increasing transmission rates of the virus are being fueled in large part by private gatherings.

"When you flaunt the rules, when you have your parties and get-togethers and don't wear masks and keep a distance and just feel, 'It's not me that's going to be impacted by this,' I don't care if you're 18 or 80, if you do that stuff, don't blame the governor when things get shut down," Duffy said.

Town leaders said some small businesses won't survive another shutdown.

"We do have a number of salons and other personal care businesses that are now forced to close, and that is very difficult on them," Moehle said.

State and local officials are pleading with people to limit their Thanksgiving gatherings to their own households.