ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – State University of New York Chancellor Jim Malatras announced with Upstate Medical President Mantosh Dewan M.D. and New York Power Authority (NYPA) President and CEO Gil C. Quiniones, a mandatory COVID-19 testing program for NYPA’s utility employees who are essential to the operation and maintenance of NYPA’s statewide power system. The testing program will use Upstate’s Clarifi COVID-19 saliva test, which is highly ranked by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and globally.
As part of the agreement, SUNY will provide NYPA with the capability to regularly test NYPA’s essential employees, including power generation and transmission staff, in locations within communities showing a COVID-19 positivity rate of 7.5 percent or higher.
Testing is currently taking place at NYPA’s Niagara Power Plant in Lewistown. The NYPA essential employee testing program is SUNY’s most recent partnership to test more of New York’s essential workers, and follows a similar program Albany International Airport announced in the beginning of the month.
“Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have been looking at resources differently in order to protect our students, faculty, and staff from this health crisis, and in doing so, SUNY and Upstate Medical has been able to expand capacity to test more essential workers for COVID at its earliest stages when individuals are asymptomatic,” said Chancellor Malatras. “We are pleased to work with President Quiniones to offer this test to the employees of NYPA, who are critical to our state, especially now in winter, as power for heat is needed across the state and as we continue to arm our hospitals to fight against COVID.”
NYPA, an essential service operator that generates approximately 25% of the state’s power, and owns and operates approximately one-third of New York’s transmission system. NYPA’s initial sites include the Niagara Power Project in Western New York, transmission control sites in Oneida County, and the Blenheim-Gilboa Pumped Storage Power Project in Schoharie County. Other sites may be added as COVID conditions warrant.