Tompkins County drive-up sampling site for possible COVID-19 busy in first few days

Local News

ITHACA, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Tompkins County has a comprehensive program set up to deal with the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The response includes a drive up sampling site set up by Cayuga Health System on Craft Road in Ithaca, where the Cayuga Centers for Dermatology and Women’s Health are located.

The testing hours are 12 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

It’s been busy, in just the first two days 157 people came through the site to be tested for COVID-19.

My main message is really is that there is really a high degree of preparedness and preparedness actions are happening so that the wave of cases that we’re anticipating and hoping that social distancing prevents but should that happen we would be prepared to act.

Cayuga Health System President and CEO Dr. Marty Stallone

The Tompkins County site is for people with a physician’s order at this time. They simply drive up, stay in the car, a viral sample is collected and sent to be tested at a commercial or government lab.

Stallone says they’re working to be able to open this site up for people seeking a test that don’t have a physician’s order.

“We have a great degree of readiness. I think the County is very well served and we look forward to working with the public health and local authorities to meet this problem,” he says.

The sampling site is just one of the aspects Cayuga Health System is working on, another is supplies and how to get more.

Stallone says, “We have strong supplies at this point, those are limited at this point in terms of the replenishment that we can accomplish. And as you might expect as fears are heightened those supplies are being used at a faster rate.”

He adds, “We’re actually reaching out to partners, for instance, we reached out to Cornell Health with students being sent home and we sequestered their supplies and we’re centralizing them and using them for this purpose and we’re also prioritizing the people who are at the frontline of the problem.”

Tests are also being gathered at the hospital emergency department, urgent care centers, and physician offices which in that case require special disinfection after those samples are taken.

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