BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) – Broome County opened its first rapid testing site in Binghamton on Monday. The site is currently at St. Patrick’s Church on the city’s West Side.
The county’s COVID-19 testing operation is on wheels; seats from a county transit bus were removed to make room for testing machines New York State supplied to the county’s health department.
County Executive Jason Garnar said making the site mobile means it can move around as the virus spreads.
“What we wanted to do was have the ability to create a mobile test site,” Garnar said. “A test site where we can stay in an area for a while, but then we can move and get around to different communities because we realize that sometimes people have a problem with transportation.”
Garnar said testing is free to Broome County residents and available only to people exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms.
While the county saw 413 active COVID-19 cases Monday, Garnar said the number of new cases reported each day peaked on Saturday and is now decreasing. The number of active cases decreased by 29 between Friday and Monday.
Last week, county officials said many of the cases are connected to a cluster that stems from bars and restaurants on Binghamton’s West Side.
Garnar said establishments that do not comply with social distancing rules are already having widespread effects on the county’s businesses and schools. He said those that to continue to violate the state’s social distancing rules may face fines.
“The actions of a few are having consequences for many, and if that means that those few businesses have to get fined so they start doing the right thing so we all don’t get affected negatively by that, I support that,” Garnar said.
While the highest concentration of cases is in Binghamton, Garnar said the outbreak has been felt across the county. On Sunday, Whitney Point Central School District announced it will move its high school instruction because of a reduction in staff and teachers available due to quarantines. Garnar also said UHS and Lourdes hospitals will suspend visitations for the time being because of the uptick of numbers.
Testing is available Monday through Friday by appointment. Broome County residents can register for testing online via the NYS Department of Health.
County officials are telling people who are not experiencing symptoms and want to get tested to go to UHS, Lourdes and the state-run drive-thru at Binghamton University.