Greene and Columbia county officials awaiting shipments of testing kits were disappointed to learn Thursday the delivery was postponed for a week.
As calls for public testing intensify, Columbia County officials unveiled plans for a drive-through testing clinic on Wednesday.
Greene and Columbia county officials said the kits will be used for public testing and to monitor nursing-home populations.
The Columbia County Health Department will open a clinic to test members of the public for COVID-19 using the 1,000 commercial testing kits the county has ordered from Thermo Fisher, health department officials confirmed Thursday.
The testing kits were due to be delivered Friday, but have been delayed one week by the supplier.
“We are planning to try and model the SUNY Albany testing site with pre-registration only that will include screening questions to help prioritize and screen people,” Columbia County Health Department Public Information Officer Patricia Abitabile said.
The planned drive-thru clinic will test 150 pre-screened individuals, Abitabile said.
“We are planning on making this the first of several clinics; this is a trial run,” she said.
The Columbia County Health Department is working with Columbia Memorial Health to organize the testing clinic. A location has not been determined, Abitabile said.
“This is all done in conjunction with CMH that is providing people who will do the testing,” she said. “CMH will be working with us together.”
Only pre-registered individuals and those referred to the county by providers will be considered for testing, Abitabile said.
The clinic announcement follows a week of increased testing by Greene and Columbia county health departments, which each received 100 kits from the state. With those supplies nearly depleted, officials are renewing their efforts to secure testing kits from state and commercial sources.
Columbia County has used 60 of the 100 testing kits from the state, Abitabile confirmed.
The 100 testing kits provided to Greene County were used within a couple of days, Greene County Legislature Chairman Patrick Linger, R-New Baltimore, confirmed. An additional 25 testing kits donated by Ulster County have also been used, he said.
“Our public-health team already used those tests on nursing-home staff and patients,” he said.
Linger confirmed that Greene County has placed an order for 1,000 testing kits. The kits will either be paid for with grant money from the state or with taxpayer dollars and then reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, he said.
Greene County has also placed repeated requests with the state for testing kits and personal protective equipment. On Tuesday, a trailer delivered supplies to the county’s Emergency Operations Center, Linger said.
“I spoke with Congressman [Antonio] Delgado and he was going to advocate on our behalf to the state. He was going to make that call on our behalf,” Linger said. “When that PPE showed up, I can only assume it was because those calls were made.”
In a statement, Delgado, D-19, said he will continue to work alongside local partners to advocate for supplies.
“I am glad to see that Greene County was able to obtain needed PPE and testing kits from the state,” Delgado said. “Earlier this week, I spoke with Legislature Chairman Linger and my office was in touch with the governor’s office to advocate on their behalf. I appreciate the governor’s swift action to get these needed materials to our community,”
Linger traveled to Ulster County on Tuesday to receive a donation of testing kits and disposable gowns from the Ulster County Public Health Department.
Ulster County Deputy Executive John Milgrim called Linger to offer the donation after seeing an article in The Daily Mail about Greene County’s lack of PPE and testing equipment.
“He told me he could help us out because they do have several health care providers that are able to get things we cannot,” he said, noting that Ulster County has four times the population of Greene County.
Linger called the donation “advantageous and gracious.”