Southern Tier faces a lack of Covid-19 tests

Local News

SOUTHERN TIER, N.Y. (WETM) – While Covid-19 vaccines are widely available in the Southern Tier, Covid-19 tests this past weekend and now are difficult to find.

With a recent rise in cases due to the omicron variant, demand for testing is also spiking upward. This is causing shortages of testing kits in pharmacies across the Southern Tier.

Gerould’s Professional Pharmacy near downtown Elmira, for example, sold out of Covid-19 testing kits at around Christmas Eve. The pharmacy is still uncertain when the next shipment of tests will arrive. Despite the lack of testing, Covid-19 and flu vaccines are still being offered to eligible residents.

Blitz Pharmacy in Big Flats is also currently out of Covid-19 testing kits, including nasal swath tests. Owner Jason Blitz says the next stock of tests is expected to arrive Wednesday, December 29.

Even with the lack of Covid-19 testing, there is still hope for those in need of a test this week. Governor Hochul announced on December 24 that Watkins Glen State Park would be the site of a state-run Covid-19 testing location starting this Wednesday. Appointments are recommended.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for residents across the entire Southern Tier,” says Fonda Chronis, Deputy County Administrator of Watkins Glen. “It’s a really good thing with the winter surge coming along and case counts really rocketing. People having that information so that they can make behavioral decisions, I think, is critical for getting us through the next month or so.”

Appointments can be scheduled online through the Schuyler County website. Tests are available at the State Park Mondays through Saturdays from 10 AM to 6 PM.

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