OSWEGO — Local drive-thru testing for COVID-19 started in Oswego Wednesday on a limited basis, with officials saying the testing is appointment only and urging anyone who may need testing to first contact their primary care physician or public health officials.
Oswego Health officials said Wednesday that testing is available by appointment only, for individuals who meet certain criteria, as determined by their primary care physician or the Oswego County Health Department. There are no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Oswego County as of Thursday morning and a limited number of individuals have been tested, but local health officials have proactively set up a mobile testing site as a precaution for a potential outbreak of the coronavirus.
“We are working closely with the Oswego County Department of Health and our community providers and earlier this week we operationalized a mobile testing unit for COVID-19 outside the hospital on West Seventh Street,” Oswego Health Chief Medical Officer Duane Tull said in a Wednesday statement. “It is important for us to protect our community and we wanted to be prepared.”
Oswego Health officials said the organization is committed to the health and safety of patients, physicians, employees, and the community, and is taking the necessary precautions. Outside Oswego Hospital on Wednesday, signage showed the testing site was operating and health care professionals in personal protective equipment (PPE) could be seen moving between vehicles on West Seventh Street and a small out building.
An Oswego Police Department (OPD) vehicle was also stationed nearby providing security. OPD Chief Phil Cady said officers would be on scene for security purposes or any potential traffic issues that may occur in the future. Cady said the OPD presence would continue while testing occurs at the site, noting it is “normal operation” under emergency operation plans and shouldn’t alarm or create fear in residents.
The number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in New York state has risen sharply this week. As of Thursday morning there were roughly 3,080 cases throughout the state.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week announced a series of measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, including shutting down bars and restaurants, curfews for certain retail establishments, closing schools and reductions to the workforce. Cuomo has also asked anyone who can work from home to do so, and urged calm in the face of the pandemic.
Individuals who believe they have symptoms of COVID-19 or may have been exposed to the virus should call their primary care physician. Individuals who do not have a primary care physician should contact the Oswego County Health Department.
Anyone experiencing symptoms of cough, fever or shortness of breath should call your primary care provider or the Oswego County COVID-19 Hotline at 315-349-3330 for further instructions.