Tompkins County and Cayuga Health officials jointly announced Monday the opening of a new testing center for COVID-19 as they try to keep up with the rising demand for testing in Tompkins County.
The center will be located in portable structures in the parking lot of The Shops at Ithaca Mall, staffed by "experienced and knowledgeable employees." It is replacing the mobile testing center that was opened a week ago at 1020 Craft Road in Ithaca, which will apparently no longer be taking COVID-19 samples.
People who wish to go to get sampled are encouraged to register online at www.cayugahealth.org or call (607) 319-5708 before going to the center. The center will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday, starting March 24. All testing is free for New Yorkers, regardless of health insurance.
During pre-registration, patients will be asked two questions: have you had a recent onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath, or body aches? And Have you been in the same room with a person confirmed positive with COVID-19 in the last 14 days? Eligibility for a test will presumably then be determined based on the answers to those questions, though the Ithaca Times is awaiting clarity on that question.
Anyone who gets a sample taken must go directly home and will be under mandatory home isolation (more information on that here). The wait time, at this point, is predicted to be around one week, according to the health department's announcement.
“Last week we were successful with opening one of the first COVID-19 sampling centers in New York State and we will continue to do what it takes to meet the healthcare needs of our community," said Martin Stallone, President & CEO of Cayuga Health. "I want to thank The Shops at Ithaca Mall and our Tompkins County officials for their efforts and support in making this Sampling Center come together so quickly. I would also like to thank the entire Cayuga Health staff for their tireless dedication and hard work over the past several weeks.”
“This new sampling center is another way for us to do our part to flatten the curve, get people tested, and keep our community safe,” said Frank Kruppa, Tompkins County Public Health Director. “We recognize there are limitations to this sampling site and we will continue to work to find solutions to ensure that everyone who needs to get tested is able to receive this service. I would like to thank Dr. Stallone and his entire team for leading this effort for the Sampling Center.”