Free rapid COVID-19 testing available in Rochester for asymptomatic people


ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren announced a partnership Tuesday with Monroe County for free, rapid COVID-19 tests at four sites this month for residents who are asymptomatic.

Officials say residents experiencing symptoms should contact their healthcare provider or call the Monroe County COVID Hotline at 753-5555.

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Officials say pre-registration is highly encouraged, but walk-ins are accepted. City residents can register online or by calling 311. Those who do not preregister can be accommodated until site capacities are full.

Residents are encouraged to arrive in personal vehicles for drive-up testing, however walk-ups will be accommodated. Testing sites, times and dates are as follows:

  • East High School, 1801 E. Main St., 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays, Dec. 5, 12 and 19.
  • Benjamin Franklin High School, 950 Norton St., 3 to 6 p.m., Mondays, Dec. 7, 14, 21 and 28.
  • Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School, 501 Genesee St., 3 to 6 p.m., Tuesdays, Dec. 8, 15, 22 and 29.
  • Jefferson High School, 1 Edgerton Park, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Wednesdays, Dec. 9, 16, 23 and 30.

Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent/guardian. Residents will be notified within 20 minutes if test results come back positive. If the test is negative, residents will be notified within 72 hours.

“Getting tested is essential to protecting our circles,” said Mayor Warren in a press release. “Someone could have COVID and not show any symptoms, but they can still spread the disease to those they come into contact with; their parents, grandparents, siblings, friends or other loved ones. I encourage everyone to utilize this free service and register to get tested. I have experienced first-hand the pain this disease can cause and I don’t want any other family to experience it.”

“Rochester and Monroe County have experienced a rapid increase in positive COVID-19 cases over the last several weeks. Through this partnership with the City of Rochester, we are able to target asymptomatic residents to ensure they are not inadvertently spreading this virus to others. It is going to take a community-wide effort to flatten our curve, and increased testing is one tool that we know works to slow spread of COVID-19,” said County Executive Adam Bello in a press release.

City of Rochester Chief Equity Officer Cephas Archie hosted a media briefing Thursday morning to discuss details of the city’s rapid test program.

“Leave the window up until you’re ready to be tested,” Archie said. “Up to four members in a car who can all receive a rest. Were going to be working with RTS to have a hub where the test will be analyze immediately after the swab has been conducted. For the most part we’re going to have a large drive-thru efforts so these efforts will be conducted in the car they will not have to get outside of the car to get the test.

“The first pick-up, of what was provided for us this past Monday, was bout 4,100 tests,” Archie said. “There are 4,100 tests that are going to be divided equitably among our four testing sites.”

Archie said he believes the initial amount of tests will be adequate for the upcoming weekend’s demands, but he said the city will need more resources to keep the rapid test sites operational.

Archie said hundreds of tests have already been scheduled through the online registration, and he expect the number of appointments to continue to climb in the coming weeks.

Archie said that forms of identification will be provided as residents arrive for their tests. He added that the city is working on a transportation system as well.

“RTS is going to be developing specific free-of-charge transport options to and from these testing sites,” Archie said. “We are making them for Rochester specifically so we are providing the access to the people who need it most.”

Although the current plan calls for the testing sites to operate for the rest of the month, Archie said it’s the city’s intention to keep the efforts going into January.

As for signage, Archie said the work is underway.

“All of the signage that we are putting in place, ‘testing here,’ we’re making sure that those resources for our Spanish speaking, deaf and hard of hearing” Archie said. “We are doing our due diligence to make sure these resources are available to all of our residents in the city.”

Full briefing:

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