coronavirus testing

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Monroe County set a new daily high for the number of positive coronavirus cases on Thursday: 654. The county also reported 19 more deaths. The county said those deaths occurred between 11/23 and 11/30.

Monroe County Public Health Commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said that while small indoor gatherings with other households may seem innocuous if everyone continues to have them, numbers can still continue to rise.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Monroe County needs more coronavirus testing capacity to prepare for the start of the school year, county public health commissioner Dr. Michael Mendoza said on Friday.

Students who have any symptoms of COVID-19 either need a positive coronavirus test to start isolation until they're no longer contagious, or a negative test and a note from a health care provider after their symptoms resolve, to go back to school, according to the health department's instructions.

Mendoza said the number of tests required to meet those needs will likely exceed the current capacity of diagnostic laboratories in the county.

"Based on our estimates, we're going to need to have about 1,000 additional tests per day," he said.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

A Rochester health care provider has begun visiting the city’s public housing sites to test people for the novel coronavirus.

Trillium Health’s mobile testing unit was at the Lake Tower apartment complex on Thursday, and Johnnie Toliver was first in line. 

Max Schulte / WXXI News

Two types of testing for the virus that causes COVID-19 are increasingly accessible in the Rochester area.

One is the test that looks for the virus, allowing doctors to diagnose whether a person is currently infected. The other searches for antibodies, which indicate whether a person was already exposed and fought the virus off.

Seth Wenig / AP

Both hospital systems in the Rochester area say they now have more supply than demand for their coronavirus lab tests. Gov. Andrew Cuomo said supply was outpacing demand across New York state, and last week the state health department expanded its guidance for who should be tested.

Andy Ophardt, who manages a primary care clinic in Brighton, said he used to field frequent questions from patients asking about how to get tested for the virus. He had to call testing sites to confirm that people his office referred met an exacting set of criteria.

Common Ground Health, a Rochester nonprofit organization, began screening people for COVID-19 symptoms at free clinics around the city on Saturday.

The organization stressed that the screenings are not coronavirus tests. Rather, they’re meant to detect early signs of COVID-19 in populations where the disease is taking the greatest toll.

Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press

The New York state health department is constructing drive-through coronavirus testing sites in five upstate counties, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday.

Several details were still unclear. The state health department and the governor’s office said the facilities would be opening this week in Monroe, Erie, Broome, Niagara and Oneida counties, but they did not respond to questions about why those particular counties were chosen.

The health department also did not set a more specific timeline for the facilities’ opening or answer questions about where the sites would be set up.

Brett Dahlberg / WXXI News

Administrators at two Rochester health providers said Tuesday that they are opening clinics in areas of the city where many people of color live.

Jordan Health and Trillium Health said the clinics are designed to give people of color easier access to testing and treatment for COVID-19.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

The New York state health department has been testing shoppers at the East Avenue Wegmans store as part of an effort to gauge the prevalence of the novel coronavirus in New York.

The Rochester Wegmans is one of “approximately 20” grocery stores across the state where the health department said it’s collecting blood samples from volunteers to see if they have been exposed to the virus that causes COVID-19.

The health department said it will collect samples from about 150 people at each testing site.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Rocky Mountain Laboratories

One-eighth of all the COVID-19 deaths in Monroe County were residents at a single nursing home: St. John’s Home in Rochester, according to data published Friday by the New York state health department.

As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 grew at St. John’s, the home expanded testing for the novel coronavirus, finding it in several residents who had no symptoms of the disease.

At least eight people have died of COVID-19 at the home, according to the state’s data.