Ulster County’s second COVID-19 mobile test site opened Monday morning at Ellenville Regional Hospital.
The new site will increase testing capacity in the county and allow potentially sickened people a closer option, as well as offering a test option to people in neighboring counties.
Those wanting tests must call their primary physician or the Ulster County COVID-19 Hotline at 845-443-8888 and get referred for an appointment.
Test kits for the Ellenville site were developed and will be processed by the health care diagnostics company Labcorp. The kits for the Kingston mobile test site are from Nuvance Health, which runs Northern Dutchess Hospital.
Both were made possible when the FDA allowed New York to authorize private labs to develop their own tests on March 14. Before then, only the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention could produce and process tests and only 3,260 had been performed in the state at the time private labs were green-lighted, according to Politico.
By Monday early afternoon, 1,282 test results had come back, according to Ulster County Executive Pat Ryan, with 205 positives. As testing has increased, the percentage of people testing positive has risen somewhat, but was “still hovering around 15 percent,” he said.
The number of confirmed cases was doubling every three days, Ryan added, behind where New York City and Westchester were on the progression of the pandemic.
Thirteen people in the county were hospitalized, Ryan said. Seven had been hospitalized on Thursday, according to the Daily Freeman.
When coming to an appointment, people would drive under a large tent to register, where they would show their ID and form of insurance through their closed window, according to Steven Kelley, president and CEO of Ellenville Regional Hospital.
They would then be directed to drive to a second tent in the parking lot where they would be sampled by medical personnel wearing full Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), Kelley said.
Ellenville Regional was planning on doubling its bed capacity, Kelley added, part of the county’s plan to quadruple its total hospital beds. HealthAlliance is planning on nearly tripling bed capacity between its two Kingston hospitals. Ryan said more would have to be done, and his team was scouting locations for additional space.
The testing site will not just be for county residents – there were no geographical restrictions on who could be tested there, Ryan said. The site was located at Ellenville Regional in part because the hospital’s catchment area included areas of Sullivan and Orange counties, allowing residents from these counties to be tested, Kelley added.