Holiday season around the corner, shortage of COVID testing

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CORNING, N.Y. (WETM/AP) – As some people make their plans to travel outside of the state for the holidays, local officials are concerned about a strain on COVID-19 tests.

“We have struggled even without holidays to provide adequate testing resources,” said Schuyler County Administrator Tim O’Hearn. “Our resources are extremely limited both in terms of the test kits themselves and as well as the manpower to conduct them.”

The state’s guideline for travel says the people who leave the state for more than a day must either quarantine for 14 days or get a test before you return to New York, quarantine for three days, and then received another test on the fourth day.

O’Hearn said that he has been advocating the state for a large testing site to be established in the Southern Tier that would be provided to people for free.

“We would like to and I think we have the volume to support another site closer to these local counties,” O’Hearn said.

The Associated Press reports, “the delays are happening as the country braces for winter weather, flu season and holiday travel, all of which are expected to amplify a U.S. outbreak that has already swelled past 11.5 million cases and 250,000 deaths.”

Steuben County Public Health Director Darlene Smith says that she’s not as worried about the number of supplies but the capacity and staffing that it would take to process an influx of tests.

“Laboratories warned that continuing shortages of key supplies are likely to create more bottlenecks and delays, especially as cases rise across the nation and people rush to get tested before reuniting with relatives,” said the Associated Press.

“You know we are getting reports it’s difficult for those without symptoms to get a test so of course, that is problematic especially for the travelers,” Smith said.

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