ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) – Sen. Chuck Schumer is calling on the Department of Health and Human Services to release federal funds that would help the residents of Orleans County get better access to testing and contact tracing.
Currently, residents in Orleans County have to travel to Rochester of Buffalo for a COVID-19 test and Schumer said the DHHS is sitting on $9 billion in testing and tracing funds that would bring those resources closer.
Schumer visited the Medina Memorial Hospital on Thursday morning, saying the intention of congress was to apply those federal funds to help in this crisis.
Just this week, the county had a positivity test rate of 5.9% Because of the rate increase, students had to be forced back to remote learning. There’s also growing concern of the county entering into the Orange Zone.
Right now, Medina Hospital and the Albion Clinic are offering coronavirus tests, but residents say much more is needed.
“Look, Orleans County alone will need hundreds of tests,” Schumer said. “Maybe thousands a day, should this wave hit hard. Every person that works at the hospital has to get a test to make sure that they’re okay. People who walk in to hospital have to get a test and so many others.”
Orleans County officials project they will need at least seven to eight rapid test machines and thousands of test kits at a minimum – compared to the two machines and 700 rapid test kits they have now.