Tompkins COVID-19 Drive-Up Screening Center Takes Samples From Hundreds

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ITHACA, NY (WSKG) – Tompkins County has a drive up screening site for COVID-19. The center has taken hundreds of samples in its first week.

That is because Tompkins, like many other counties across the country, does not yet have tests for the novel coronavirus. Samples are taken and then sent to a state or privately-owned lab for testing.

Dr. Douglas MacQueen wants people to know that if you think you have symptoms, call your doctor first. You must have an appointment to be seen at the screening center.

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Drive-by testing for COVID-19, like this site in Pittsburgh, is becoming prevalent across the country. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

He’s an infectious disease specialist with Cayuga Medical Center, the only hospital in Tompkins County.

“The people we’re thinking about are those who have recently had the start of fevers, cold symptoms like sore throat, cough or shortness of breath,” he said.

MacQueen said anyone experiencing those symptoms should call their doctor. If you don’t have a doctor, call the county health department for help.

“We are testing broadly right now, meaning we’re not restricting our testing to those who are immunocompromised or who have recently traveled,” he said. “The reason for that is we want to know about cases in the community and detect transmission from other cases and detect community spread if and when it happens.”

MacQueen said people can’t expect to just drive away back to their normal lives.
After someone has been to the screening center they have to be isolated at home immediately at least until they get a negative result. Test results take about four days.

Full Disclosure: Cayuga Medical Center is a WSKG Underwriter