The Cattaraugus County Health Department on Friday began to offer public Covid-19 diagnostic tests for the residents of that county at sites in Olean, Allegany and Little Valley.
Appointments are still needed for the testing, and they can be made by visiting cattco.org/covid-19-test or calling 938-9119. Only residents showing symptoms will need to be quarantined after the tests.
“The expanded testing is designed to accommodate anyone in Cattaraugus County who wishes to be tested for Covid-19,” said Dr. Kevin D. Watkins, public health director.
“Clearly, we need to increase the number of Covid-19 tests,” Watkins said. “Testing is the only way we get a realistic view of the spread of the virus in our region. To date, 1,227 residents have been tested out of the 76,000 people living in the county. That is not enough.”
Under Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s mandate, in order for a region to reopen as a whole, it must be able to test 30 people per 1,000 population. Cattaraugus County is part of the Western New York region, along with Chautauqua, Allegany, Erie and Niagara counties.
“We are testing approximately 30 per day. We need to be at 120 per day,” Watkins said.
Jeff Zewe, president and CEO of Olean General Hospital, also said Kaleida Health-affiliated Olean General will begin offering antigen testing to all its employees.