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State deploys rapid COVID tests to all counties

The state Department of Health is deploying 400,000 rapid-result test kits free of charge to local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies and other health care providers in every New York county.

These rapid tests can produce results within 15 minutes without having to send a specimen to a lab.

The DOH is prioritizing distributing kits to counties and local health care providers in areas seeing recent uptick in cases, such as Brooklyn and Orange and Rockland counties.

The rapid tests can be used to control new outbreaks and conduct surveillance testing, and will also be made available on an as-needed basis to help schools in “yellow” zones test students and staff as part of new requirements to monitor COVID-19 spread, part of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s Cluster Action Initiative.

“From day one, testing has been one of the most vital tools we have to accurately assess COVID-19’s spread in New York,” Cuomo said in a press release. “These rapid test kits will allow health care institutions throughout the state to quickly and accurately determine COVID-19’s spread, control outbreaks and keep families and communities safe.”

On Tuesday, as part of the Cluster Action Initiative, the governor announced that schools open to in-person instruction in “yellow” zones would be required to test a portion of their students, staff and teachers at least once a week, starting next Friday, Oct. 16.

All results must be reported promptly to DOH and will be made available on the state’s COVID Report Card dashboard for schools.

Crown Point school goes remote

The Crown Point Central School was notified of a positive COVID-19 case in a student there late Thursday afternoon, and the school has since transitioned to a temporary remote learning system, according to Essex County Health Department Public Information Officer Andrea Whitmarsh. That is the county’s first COVID case in a school so far.

Superintendent Shari Brannock wrote in a press release that the pre-K-to-12th-grade school will stay remote through at least Tuesday as the building is cleaned, plans are made and the safety of returning is assessed.

The county Health Department said the positive student has been isolated and school contacts have been quarantined and that it is conducting a case investigation to identify any other community exposures outside the school setting that may have occurred.

“The school district is doing everything we would want them to do in order to keep the health and safety of students and staff at the forefront,” ECHD Director Linda Beers wrote in a press release.

Essex County

There were six reported COVID-19 cases in Essex County Friday.

There have been 20,940 tests conducted in the county cumulatively, with 215 resulting positive cases. There have been 3,666 antibody tests conducted cumulatively, with 86 returning positive.

There have been 16 COVID-19-related deaths in Essex County, including Essex Center nursing home residents counted in Clinton County data.

Franklin County

There were three COVID-19 cases in Franklin County Friday, including one non-resident staying in the county in isolation, the county reported.

There have been 62 cumulative test-positive cases and 103 probable positive cases in the county, and 162 people have recovered from active COVID-19. A total of 39 people in 32 locations across the county are currently either in isolation or quarantine.

The state Department of Health reports one COVID-19-related death in Franklin County, but the county Public Health department has disputed that.

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