Meet the Upstate Hospital team that transformed State Fair building into coronavirus testing site

Local News

GEDDES, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — In the same building where people wait in line for a $1 baked potato in a normal summer, 500 people per day wait in line in their cars for a coronavirus test.

Upstate University Hospital has turned the State Fairground’s Horticulture Building into a winter-proof testing site.

The building works well as a testing site because the big doors let fresh air in, spacious room allows for distancing and the roof gives protection from rain and snow.

To get a test at the Horticulture Building, people must make an appointment through Upstate. Appointments are currently reserved for people feeling symptoms or for people in need of testing because of known exposure to a contagious person.

Early in the pandemic, Upstate Hospital was granted approval to process its own coronavirus tests at its downtown laboratories and over the spring and summer, tested people at an outdoor location on Water Street.

As the colder and snowier weather approached, Upstate looked for weather-proof locations, and they found a winter home at the New York State Fairgrounds.

Car traffic enters at one garage door and exits at another. Patients check-in with a nurse and then are tested for the virus. Results are expected back within 24-48 hours, sometimes read in as few as 18 hours.

The nurses, pharmacists and technicians that perform the tests are often working at the Fairgrounds in addition to their normal shifts at Upstate.

Anne Marie Seller, who works in the radiology department at Upstate Community Hospital, works at the Fairgrounds from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., before working her hospital shift until 11 p.m.

Seller tells NewsChannel 9, “When you sign up as a registered nurse, you serve the public, help the people. That’s what we do.”

In most cases, testing at Upstate is covered by insurance. People without insurance won’t be asked for payment out of pocket.


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