Rapid COVID tests for businesses? Talks with NYS, orange zone restaurants underway

Coronavirus

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — We’re seeing rapid testing being done in schools in the orange zone right now but what about other public places? Last week, Monroe County Executive Adam Bello said he was talking with the state to provide rapid tests to more businesses. On Tuesday, Bello told News 8 the state is on board with the idea of providing these rapid tests to other types of businesses and conversations about logistics are in the works.

Bello said he’s started talking to restaurant owners in the orange zone about the possibility of testing in their businesses. He said there are details to work out with the state including lab licensing, locations, and a reporting system to make sure the state gets the data from the tests properly.

While he’s only started talking to restaurants so far, Bello said depending on the number of tests and staff they’re able to get, expanding it to other businesses is a goal also.

“What we see through contact tracing is that the barber shops, the gyms, the salons really aren’t causing a lot of the spread, we’re not seeing a lot of cases there so to be able to prove that, that’s what our goal is,” Bello said.

He also said we are one of the only counties pushing to expand rapid testing to businesses and he thinks it’s vital to figure out where positive cases are. He also said our testing numbers in Monroe County are higher than many other counties in the state.

“We’re working with the municipalities right now in the orange zones to make them broadly and fully available and we hope to expand that in the coming weeks.”

Ross Mueller owns two restaurants, one in the City of Rochester, which is currently in the orange zone. He said the idea is good but it would take a lot of cooperation to be successful.

“I love the idea in theory but it takes a community to make that happen and to make it successful to stop the spread,” Mueller said.

Bello also said the county is in the process of hiring 50 people to help with contact tracing and these new employees could be helpful if the community rapid testing becomes more prevalent.

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