SYRACUSE, NY (WRVO) – As college students around the state remain on winter break, campuses across New York state will begin hosting free COVID testing for the general public this week.
Gov. Kathy Hochul said the plan to use colleges and universities came together over a 24-hour period after a call from Syracuse University.
“I want to thank Chancellor Kent Syverud for approaching us and saying ‘We have a plan. We tested 4,000 students a day on our campus. Those students are not here, they’re not coming back for a while. Do you want to use our facilities?’” Hochul said Monday. “And the answer was ‘Heck, yes. Heck, yes.’”
Starting Tuesday, central New York residents can get tested at SU’s testing center in the Carrier Dome through January 14 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. The PCR surveillance test is a saliva test. It’s free of charge for asymptomatic people, and no appointments are necessary. SU Vice Chancellor Mike Haynie says offering up the Dome made sense.
“We’ve been conducting this testing at a very large scale for a year and a half. So the testing infrastructure itself is in place,” Haynie said. “We just needed help on the people side.”
The state is sending National Guard members to augment SU’s testing infrastructure. The move has also prompted Hochul to put empty SUNY college campuses to work as well.
“This week, we’ll have SUNY Plattsburgh, Purchase, Oswego, Cortland, Binghamton, Stony Brook, Buffalo State, Syracuse University, Albany and SUNY Buffalo. All those sites will have testing available for the public to come on to campus, you don’t have to pay for parking, we’ll get the hours out and we’ll have more sites next week.”