Ulster gets rapid testing machines; will be deployed to Covid clusters

County Executive Ryan and Ulster County Commissioner of Health Dr. Carol Smith with the rapid mobile testing bus. (Provided)

Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan today announced the county has four rapid testing machines that can return results for Covid-19 tests in under 30 minutes.

The machines will be placed on a bus staffed by public health nurses, which will be dispatched to high-risk locations identified as potential clusters in order to screen out positives as quickly as possible.

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Last month, Ulster County Executive Ryan announced that Ulster County was eligible to receive rapid testing machines and test kits. The County Health Department has received four rapid testing machines and a limited number of test kits from the New York State Department of Health. “These kits will primarily be employed to assist school districts, congregate care facilities, and other identified clusters and at this time, will not be available to the general public due to limited supplies,” according to a release.

The rapid testing devices, Abbott BinaxNOW and Abbott ID NOW, will be able to run eight tests per hour and the results should come back within 30 minutes.

“This new rapid testing capability will help slow the spread of COVID-19 by expanding our ability to reach and identify potential clusters while also improving our turnaround time, allowing us to instantly test key facilities and populations,” Ryan said.

Additionally, on Saturday, Ryan convened a call with county and municipal leaders where he updated them on the evolving COVID-19 situation in Ulster County and urged them to make preparations and to continue to enforce COVID-19 precautions. Last week, County Executive Ryan stated that Ulster County is seeing the beginnings of a second wave in Ulster County and called upon all residents to take the sudden rise in positive cases seriously. As hospitalization rates and active cases rise to levels not seen since early summer, County Executive Ryan urged residents to adhere to health precautions like social distancing and wearing a mask.

Since early October, Ulster County has seen a consistent uptick in cases and hospitalizations. Ulster County’s hospitalization rate is at the highest it has been since early May, and active case rates are at the highest point since mid-June.

Residents can find information about their nearest testing location and both walk-in testing sites and mobile testing sites by visiting https://covid19.ulstercountyny.gov/covid19-testing/.

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