Schools to hand out COVID test kits

Schools in Greene County will distribute COVID-19 test kits to students, but some supplies will be limited.

The Catskill Central School District announced Monday that the district would be distributing a limited supply of at-home COVID-19 testing kids to students on Tuesday and Wednesday.

As COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the region, Greene County recorded two more virus-related deaths over the holiday weekend.

In a statement, Catskill Superintendent Ronel Cook noted that the test kits will be distributed to parents from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Jan. 4 and 5 at the Catskill Elementary School parent pick-up loop.

Each district parent can collect one kit per child, with each kit containing two COVID tests and a set of directions to follow.

“We kindly ask that parents remain in their car and follow the directions of staff and law enforcement,” Cook wrote.

In the Coxsackie-Athens School District, Superintendent Randall Squier updated district parents on Dec. 30 to the future availability of the at-home kits, noting that the district was expecting to receive them from the state early this week.

Squire said that once the kits are received by the district that each child would be offered two testing kits.

The district will allow families to opt out of receiving the kits if they do not want them. Parents will be given the option to choose whether they want the kits to be sent home in their child’s backpack or to pick them up on campus.

The two deaths over the weekend brought the county’s total number of COVID-related deaths to 95 since the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

According to Greene County Administrator Shaun Groden, both unidentified victims were in their mid-70s and both were unvaccinated at the time of their deaths. One of the victims did have comorbidity issues.

The county currently has 803 active positive cases, up 168 cases since the county last updated its numbers four days prior.

There are currently 27 county residents hospitalized due to COVID-related illnesses.

“We’re going to continue to have these spikes for awhile,” Groden said. “I think everyone is going to get this in some variant before it’s done. We’re not locked down, so your chances of exposure are so much more increased. You’re much better off being vaccinated.”

Groden said the county has not received an update from the state on when the county might receive at-home test kits to distribute free to residents. Local school districts are being sent the kits directly, with each district allowed to distribute them how they see fit.

For residents who do acquire their own at-home tests, Groden stressed that they need to report test results to the state and county health departments in order to facilitate contact tracing efforts.

“Our concern all along is that people won’t report out the results from their home kits,” he said. “That’s going to be important or how else are we going to know the results positive or negative? We have a self-reporting form on our website that people are requested to go on and fill it out. It’s not public information, it’s just for us so we can put anybody who’s positive into the database.”

Groden said that to date 120 residents have reported at-home tests to the county health department. The county administrator added that residents looking to get tested can also go to a new state testing site at the Crossgates Mall in Albany that runs from 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. daily.

“I know it’s up in Albany, but it’s not that far if you can’t get into one of our sites,” he said.

The county is running testing sites on Mondays and Wednesdays at 370 Mansion St. in Coxsackie.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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