Hundreds seeking rapid COVID tests in Lewis County

Updated: Oct. 28, 2020 at 5:55 PM EDT
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LOWVILLE, N.Y. (WWNY) - As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Lewis County, Lewis County Health System is offering free rapid testing - an expansion of services - now happening Monday through Friday from noon to 1 p.m.

“The waves of the pandemic have finally hit the shores of Lewis County and we’re seeing a marked uptick in positive cases. So we’re in the process of trying to control the spread inside the community now that it’s here,” said Dr. Sean Harney, LCHS chief medical officer.

Harney says the state gave the hospital 2,000 tests last week and they are quickly going through them.

“The last two days I was out here a couple of hours directing traffic because our parking lot was absolutely full. We saw between 100-150 people yesterday and also Monday,” he said.

Officials say the rapid tests have been crucial to helping public health contain the spread.

“It allows public health to do contact tracing and get people into isolation who are in fact positive,” said Harney.

In downtown Lowville, businesses and organizations are helping to slow the spread as well.

The Lowville Free Library has suspended visits until November 10; the AmeriCU Credit Union has closed teller lines, and both Jeb’s and the New York Pizzaria have suspended dine-in services for the time being.

“If we can hold on a little longer and keep ourselves separated as long as we can, it’ll be a good thing for the community,” said Jennifer Metzler, Jeb’s owner.

Metzler says these minor inconveniences now will be worth protecting residents in the long run.

“Stay safe, Lewis County,” she said.

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