Officials plan 2-day COVID-19 testing event next week

WWNY Officials plan 2-day COVID-19 testing event next week

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - There’s a mass testing event next week to determine the community spread of COVID-19 during and after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Samaritan Medical Center, Carthage Area Hospital, Jefferson County Public Health, and the state health department are teaming up to test thousands of residents over two days.

“This is clearly the largest operation that we’ve had. It is clearly the right thing to do for the community,” said county Board of Legislators Chairman Scott Gray. “The more you test, the quicker you isolate those cases, and that slows the spread down.”

Organizers hope to test as many people as possible. Testing is set for Monday, December 7 and Tuesday, December 8.

Samaritan’s drive-up testing site will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. both days.

At Carthage, testing is from 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday. People are instructed to use the back entrance to the hospital off West Street.

“We’re hoping to be able to get about 170 people through our process on Monday and Tuesday,” said Natalie Burnham, COO, Carthage Area Hospital. “You just come right through the parking lot. We’ve got a big sign. Our staff will be there to greet you. You’ll come show us your ID, we’ll do the rest, and you’ll drive right out.”

Officials say knowing the volume of new positive cases will help slow the spread of the disease as people are asked to quarantine and take precautions.

Testing is free, but only by appointment. Appointments can be made at or by calling Samaritan’s resource line at 315-755-3100.

“My hope is that we give this site and these times a little love, and they book up quick, because that will determine what we need to do going forward,” said Gray.

People can expect results in two or three days. Anyone who tests positive will be contacted by Public Health for contact tracing.

Gray says if all goes well, he’s hoping to host this event bi-weekly in an effort to get ahead of the virus.

Copyright 2020 WWNY. All rights reserved.