As the need for more COVID-19 testing has become apparent as a key to reopening New York, more and more test kits are becoming available and the new antibody tests are giving a wider picture of how many people have been exposed to the virus.
State antibody tests show more than 7% of Western New York residents have been exposed, although nowhere near that many have been diagnosed in the healthcare system. Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel Stapleton said Albany will be doing testing in his county this week.
"All that information started building up this weekend, lot of calls with the governor's office, calls with the state. There will be a exercise to get samples," Stapleton said. "It will be held in Niagara County. It will be held at NCCC. That's all being ramped up right now. I was just at NCCC just this morning to talk about what they're doing there."
The state health department is planning a drive-through testing event at Niagara County Community College for those who arranged the testing in advance. The state has not said when it will start.
Speaking during her daily briefing, Legislature Chair Becky Wydysh said there have been nearly 2,100 tests, 400 of them over the weekend. Stapleton said Erie County and Kaleida Health have given Niagara some test kits to continue testing of staff in nursing homes.
"Which really allowed us to do a focused approach and really concentrate on what the nursing homes need, whether it's testing of symptomatic residents or testing, even more important, symptomatic staff so we can make sure that if someone is positive and they're working around this population, which is very much at risk, we can stop it in its tracks, eliminate that transmission of disease," Stapleton said.
The latest count in Niagara County is 410 COVID-19 cases.