Niagara County Community College will be one of five sites in the state where a drive-up Covid-19 testing clinic will be held soon, Niagara County Public Health Director Daniel J. Stapleton announced Monday.
Stapleton added Tuesday that the state is in charge of the procedure, but the county has heard the diagnostic testing will begin Wednesday and could last for several days.
He said tests will be offered only to those who sign up in advance by calling the state's toll-free Covid-19 number, 888-364-3065, or through the State Health Department website.
Stapleton said anyone who shows up without an appointment will be turned away. But there is a loophole: as long as one person in a vehicle is pre-registered, everyone in the vehicle can be tested, Stapleton said.
The State Health Department also conducted antibody testing Tuesday at the Wegmans store on Military Road in the Town of Niagara. It was not announced in advance. Stapleton said he'd heard the state wanted to do about 300 tests to add to its database on antibodies and Covid-19 positives.
Niagara Falls Mayor Robert M. Restaino said Tuesday he thinks the drive-in testing site should have been located in his city, not at NCCC.
"Niagara Falls has over twice the number of positive Covid-19 cases of any other location in Niagara County and I have repeatedly requested more testing for the city, expressing my concerns for the elderly, minority and the poor in our community – population sectors that have shown a statistically increased risk," Restaino said.
"The placement of the drive-thru facility at the NCCC campus, without any consultation with local government, ignores the population sectors with the most risk, along with the public transportation limitations for those sectors from Niagara Falls to the NCCC campus," the mayor said.