Essex Center enters new week with in-house coronavirus testing

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ELIZABETHTOWN, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Centers Health Care made the decision last week to bring COVID-19 testing largely in-house, following weeks of work testing residents and staff at the Essex Center facility, which recently saw an outbreak in cases.

In an email Monday, Centers Health Care Communications Director Jeff Jacomowitz said the delay in getting test results was a driving force, as the number of positive cases and deaths rose at the center. The center would wait for between 14 and 19 days to get results, all while trying to identify and quarantine anyone in danger.

“Can you imagine getting results of a resident who has already died of COVID, only to have these results confirm the death and not as a means of tracking?” Jacomowitz said.

The Essex Center switched first to a lab with a 72-hour turnaround time for cases, and now are able to get results within 24 hours. Centers Health Care can test around 800 patients daily, with hopes to increase to 3,200. Any overflow of tests that can’t be handled on-site then go to reference labs that can get the work done within 48 hours.

“We feel that bringing the testing in-house will save precious lives,” said Jacomowitz. “This new business methodology is a major step in the right direction as we move into the fall flu season.”

Last week in Essex County ended with 186 total coronavirus cases, a jump of 10 from the week before. Four Essex Center residents tested positive on Friday.

This article will be updated with Monday’s numbers when those are made availible.

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