WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - To get a better grip on COVID numbers, Jefferson County started its biggest testing event yet. County leaders say finding people who are negative is just as important as finding those who test positive.
Cars lined up in Watertown and Carthage Monday for the first of two days of Jefferson County’s largest testing initiative.
“We’ve got a good system down so we’re able to get people out pretty quickly,” said Samantha Archer, testing site worker.
Nurses were busy at Carthage Area Hospital.
Cars lined up at Samaritan Medical Center’s drive-thru testing site.
“It’s a very short, seamless process, and very efficient, especially with the numbers we’re seeing for today and tomorrow,” said SMC spokesperson Leslie DiStefano.
Those numbers are high.
“The registrations were coming in faster than Samaritan could put them in,” said Scott Gray, Jefferson County Board of Legislators chair.
By Monday afternoon, all 1,032 time slots were full.
With a lot of tests, Gray says an uptick in positive cases is expected.
“The short term will be the shock and awe, if you will, about the numbers. But the long-term is that we hope it levels the spread or slows the spread, so eventually our numbers will be more of a spike rather than a trajectory,” said Gray.
The event is to find the positive cases, but it’s important to report more negative tests too so the north country positivity rate drifts away from becoming a yellow zone, something that could bring more state restrictions.
The testing continues Tuesday, but all time slots have been booked.