GLOVERSVILLE -- Hit by 168 new cases of COVID-19 since May 1, starting Friday Fulton County is getting additional testing capacity for the virus.
A COVID-19 testing station is set to open in the parking lot of the Gloversville Walmart Supercenter off Route 30A, 329 S. Kingsboro Ave. Ext.
According to a news release from Walmart, the testing facility will be operated by Walmart Quest Diagnostics, staffed by Walmart pharmacists, and will provide tests for adults 18 and older who meet the guidelines provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well testing recommended by state and local officials.
People who fit that criteria include first responders, healthcare providers, those with symptoms of COVID-19 and those in high risk groups without symptoms.
The test site will use a self-administered nasal swab test that will allow those being tested to swab their own nose onsite while in their vehicles. They will observed by a "trained medical volunteer," according to Walmart. The sample will be left at the drive-thru site.
The site will be open Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays weekly from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., weather permitting. The site will close on Memorial Day and Tuesday, but will resume on Wednesday.
Testing, however, will require an appointment through Quest’s MyQuestTM online portal and app, located at www.MyQuestCOVIDTest.com, which will screen and schedule appointments for those individuals that meet medical eligibility for the testing sites.
"Once on site, those being tested will need to wear a mask and stay in their cars for verification of eligibility criteria, ID check and self-administered test," reads the news release from Walmart.
"For the safety of all those on-site, the test site is not available to those who walk up. Any questions regarding testing and appointments, please call Quest’s dedicated COVID-19 line at 866-448-7719, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m."
Walmart officials also stressed in the news release that the testing is available in the parking lot and not inside the store. "Walmart is part of the community, and we are proud to help support the expansion of COVID-19 testing in Gloversville during this unprecedented time," stated Jason Klipa, Walmart public affairs director for New York. “We are grateful to our associates who keep our stores running, our pharmacists who support these testing sites, and to Quest Diagnostics and local officials as we work together to open the site and help our community.”
The Fulton County community has seen a dramatic increase in COVID-19 positive cases and deaths since 24 patients at the Fulton Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare tested positive April 24.
Between May 1 and Tuesday the number of COVID-19 positive cases in Fulton County rose from 31 to 199, according to a news release Wednesday from Fulton County Public Health Director Laurel Headwell.
"As of [Wednesday], 109 Fulton Center residents and 31 Fulton Center staff have tested positive," wrote Headwell in the news release. "Monitoring of all of those affected is ongoing; 15 Fulton Center residents have passed away from complications associated with COVID-19."
Headwell said as of Wednesday 31 Fulton County residents have been placed in quarantine.
Headwell's death count from the virus is different than the numbers posted by the New York State Dept. of Health as of Wednesday.
The NYSDOH website shows 11 people who tested positive for COVID-19 have died within Fulton County and 4 people whose primary residence is Fulton County have died after testing positive for the virus.
New York state's COVID-19 Tracker, which can be found on the internet at covid19tracker.health.ny.gov., shows that as of Tuesday 1,983 Fulton County residents had been tested, with 9.3 percent of them testing positive.
The tracker shows 89 Fulton County residents were tested Tuesday, with only 2 new positive cases from the testing. Fulton County's positive percentage among those tested is significantly higher than neighboring counties Hamilton (1.5 percent, of 342 tested), Montgomery (4.4 percent, of 1,720 tested), Saratoga (4.7 percent, of 9,302 tested) and Herkimer (4.9 percent, of 1,917 tested).
Headwell stressed in her news release that even though portions of the economy are reopening people should continue to maintain six feet of social distancing when in public, wash their hands frequently, stay home when sick and wear face covering in public when social distancing isn't possible.