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Memorial COVID-19 testing tops 5,000 mark

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Thu, Jul 2nd 2020 10:00 pm

Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center announced Thursday that it has conducted more than 5,200 tests of area residents for the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

That testing has included an ambitious program of making such tests available at community sites.

“We recognized early on the importance of making testing widely available to the general public,” said Memorial President and CEO Joseph A. Ruffolo. “Testing helps to quickly identify confirmed cases, isolate those who are infected, initiate timely treatment and begin contact tracing to identify others who may have been exposed to people who are infected.”

The goal, he added, is to slow the spread of the disease and protect the public’s health.

As of Wednesday, Memorial had conducted 5,246 COVID-19 tests, including those administered to hospital patients and those required by the state health department to be tested prior to undergoing emergent and elective surgical procedures.

The highest number of tests have been administered to area residents taking advantage of the medical center’s drive-thru and walk-up community testing program. Since that program began on May 7, more than 2,300 community members have been tested. Although the majority of those were tested at the downtown medical center or the suburban Summit Healthplex, nearly 700 were tested at outreach sites including Niagara Falls Housing Authority complexes, school lunch programs, area churches, the Tuscarora Indian Reservation and Niagara University.

“Looking ahead, our key word for July is accessibility,” said Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Sheila K. Kee, who is overseeing the testing outreach. “We want to hear from churches, gyms, restaurants, schools and others who are looking to have COVID-19 testing done so we can make that testing available to them.”

To learn more or to schedule testing, call 716-278-4301.

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