Albany County Distributing masks, test kits as virus cases spike


ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)– In Albany county, COVID cases continue to rise. Local officials say the Omicron variant is likely to blame. In an effort to help stop the spread, the county has been allocated 10,000 at-home COVID testing kits from New York State.

“The goal is to continue to push these out,” said Dan McCoy, Albany County Executive. “Get them to people in need, especially in the black and brown community. Where it is expensive to get testing.”

Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, Albany County’s Heath commissioner, said these rapid antigen tests are easy to preform and are effective.

“When you get the test if you have a smart phone, there is a bar code that you can scan which takes you to an app, there is a video that shows you how to do this, but if you don’t have a smart phone, inside there are instructions,” explained Whalen.

The county is asking those who get a positive result, to report it to the county health department. In addition to the tests, the state has also given Albany County roughly 140,000 KN95 masks. Both the masks, and the at-home tests are being distributed by the Albany County Sheriff’s Office today.

“Our job is going to end when we give them to the towns,” explained Sheriff Craig Apple. “The towns, the mayors, and the supervisors–they will have to come up with a plan as to where to disseminate. Our hopes are they will disseminate them sooner than later.”

The number of masks and tests given to the municipalities will be based on population size. Sheriff Apple said he’s hoping that they will become available to the public by this weekend.

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