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Erie County DOH expands eligibility for county-run COVID-19 testing sites

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Tue, Feb 9th 2021 09:50 am

The Erie County Department of Health (ECDOH) is expanding eligibility for accessing a free diagnostic COVID-19 test at county-run test sites.

New eligibility criteria include all Erie County residents. Appointments are still required, and can be scheduled by calling the Erie County COVID-19 information line at 716-858-2929.

Erie County residents who should strongly consider getting a diagnostic COVID-19 test include:

√ Individuals of any age with COVID-19 symptoms (fever, shortness of breath, cough, fatigue, new loss of taste or smell, muscle or body aches, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea) – this includes people who received one or both doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

√ Close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, five to seven days after last known exposure – this includes people who received one or both doses of COVID-19 vaccine.

Other populations that may schedule a diagnostic COVID-19 test through ECDOH include:

√ Individuals who require a test for travel – departing from or returning to Erie County.

√ Individuals whose employer requires a negative test to return to work or school following a positive test and completion of isolation period.

√ Individuals seeking a test to qualify for a visit to a nursing home or other care facility.

√ Individuals whose physician requires a negative test prior to surgery.

√ Individuals at high risk of exposure based on the nature of their job.

“The addition of new state-of-the-art equipment in our public health lab has increased our daily capacity to perform PCR (molecular) diagnostic testing,” Commissioner of Health Dr. Gale Burstein said. “Between our public health lab and point-of-care (rapid) tests on-site, we want to make sure that we are providing diagnostic tests to people who need them and who want to know their status.”

She continued, “We want to reinforce that testing does not prevent COVID-19. Testing identifies new COVID-19 cases. Public health measures of wearing a mask, maintaining social distance, avoiding in-person indoor gatherings, staying home when ill, and getting vaccinated when you are eligible are the primary ways we can reduce community transmission of this virus.”

Previously, only Erie County residents with COVID-19-like symptoms or who were under quarantine due to a close contact with a confirmed case were eligible for diagnostic testing through Erie County.

This change does not affect eligibility at other private or state-run diagnostic testing sites.

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