ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Although there’s been a large turnout so far for Rochester’s rapid COVID-19 testing program, city officials are still encouraging residents to get tested if they wish to do so.

City of Rochester Chief Equity Officer Cephas Archie addressed the media Tuesday for an update on the city’s free, rapid COVID-19 testing program. Archie spoke from Joseph C. Wilson Magnet High School, one of the sites for rapid testing in the city.

“We’re looking to be intentional with our deliberate efforts,” Archie said. “A goal without a plan, is a plan to fail.”

Last week, the city launched its rapid testing program. Currently, 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.

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.

Archie said there’s been a lot of participation from residents to get tests, more than the city initially expected.

“What we do know is there are a lot more people who are coming out to get tests that we ever thought,” Archie said. “What we are showing is that we are being very successful in getting our community members to come out and respond.”

Archie said nearly 1,000 people were tested during the first two days of the program. He says there is a capacity concern, but for the short term, he still encourages city residents who want to get tested to do so.

“We don’t want to discourage people from coming to get tests,” Archie said. “These testing efforts are for Rochester residents and we need Rochester residents to recognize that these opportunities are for them and we need them to come out.”

Residents are encouraged to arrive in personal vehicles for drive-up testing, however walk-ups will be accommodated.

Archie said families can help themselves with specific safety plans in regard to the pandemic.

“This is important to make sure not only you know what your plan is, but also the people you’re connected with,” Archie said. “We’re being intentional with bringing in a community engagement plan. Inclusion benefits all.”

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.

Archie said the city’s plan is a collaborative effort with Monroe County. Neighboring towns in the orange zone — Irondequoit, Brighton, and Gates — have also launched a series of rapid test sites and dates for community members seeking a test.

“Prevention is always better than the response,” Archie said. “We want to make sure we have a preventive and proactive plan in place for every family will help make sure.”

These rapid tests are designed 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.

Watch the full briefing:

Check back with News 8 WROC as we will continue to update this developing story.