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Albany drive-thru testing site opens Monday — but appointments required

Albany drive-thru testing site opens Monday — but appointments required

Albany drive-thru testing site opens Monday — but appointments required
State Health Department officials set up a COVID-19 testing site at the University at Albany. It's scheduled to open today.
Photographer: Peter R. Barber/Gazette Photographer

ALBANY — University at Albany will be home to a new mobile COVID-19 testing site by Monday morning. 

Officials hope to test at least several hundred people per day before ramping up operations. 

“As time goes on, those numbers will increase,” said an official from the governor’s office on Sunday. 

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Appointments are required and no walk-ins are allowed.  

To make an appointment, residents must call the state’s hotline at 888-364-3065.

As New York reels from the ongoing pandemic, stamping out the crisis will ultimately hinge on the availability of widespread testing, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday. 

The faster testing is made available, he said, the quicker people who test negative can gradually reenter the workforce.

“I think we’ll see a return to normalcy with a rapid testing program brought to scale,” Cuomo said. “It’s under development now, and that is the answer, I believe.”

Cuomo on Sunday reiterated an upcoming wave will eventually shift the epicenter from New York City to Long Island and upstate.

He has directed hospitals statewide to craft a coordinated response, transferring patients and medical supplies once facilities begin to be overwhelmed. 

The state has reported 122,031 cases with 16,479 hospitalized and 4,159 deaths as of Sunday.

Most of the fatalities have been in the New York City-metro area. 

To date, Schenectady County has reported seven deaths; Albany County, 8 and Saratoga County, 3. 

The site will prioritize tests for individuals that are among the highest risk population, including the elderly, first-responders and health care workers.

The testing facility mirrors models elsewhere, including New Rochelle, the early epicenter of the virus. 

Here’s how it works:

Residents who believe they have been in close contact with someone with COVID-19 and have symptoms must call the state hotline. 

People will be given a PIN number after securing an appointment. 

Upon arriving at the site, only those with a valid PIN will be allowed to enter and will be ushered through a series of checkpoints. 

Motorists will keep their windows sealed at the queue, only lowering them upon pulling them into the medical tent where the test is administered via nasal and throat swabs.

“You’re in isolation,” the state official said. 

Drive-thru sites reduce density and the potential for spread by keeping those potentially affected out of area healthcare facilities and hospitals.

The location is a partnership between Albany Medical Center, St. Peter's Health Partners and The University at Albany.

“The testing site will be minimally impactful on the campus and pose no direct health risk to our campus community,” said University at Albany President Havidán Rodríguez and Todd Foreman, vice president of finance and administration, in a released statement.

“Given that the key to eradicating this virus is to increase testing, we are very pleased to be part of this effort. As you know, community engagement is a core priority at UAlbany. Working together, we can and will move through this crisis.”

State police, the National Guard and University at Albany officers will be onsite to provide support. 

New York is now testing more than 16,000 people daily, more than any other state and more than China and South Korea on a per-capita basis, according to the governor’s office. 

NEED-TO-KNOW: The mobile testing center will go live Monday, April 6 at 10 a.m. at University at Albany’s Colonial Quad parking lot at 1400 Washington Avenue. Location hours will be Monday to Sunday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.

GAZETTE COVID-19 COVERAGE

The Daily Gazette is committed to keeping our community safe and informed and is offering our COVID-19 coverage to you free.
Our subscribers help us bring this information to you. Please consider a subscription at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe to help support these efforts.
Thank You
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