SCHOHARIE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – As the state continues making progress in the fight against the spreading omicron variant, Assemblyman Chris Tague hosted two distribution events to get at-home testing kits and KN95 masks to residents in rural areas. On Sunday, there were lines of cars with people picking up the resources in Schoharie County.
“You’ve been here this morning, and you see the cars aren’t stopping,” Tague said.
Sunday’s event was the second the assemblyman hosted this weekend, giving away hundreds of tests and masks in Coxsackie on Saturday. It’s a way to ensure New Yorkers have the tools necessary to continue taking precautions amidst the winter surge. “Being able for people to just come right here and get it. This is the community service at its best.”
There’s been high demand across the state and country for at-home testing kits, as well as KN95 and N95 masks, which better protect against the new variant.
Tague says it’s been especially difficult for those in rural communities to get their hands on these resources, “There’s a lot of senior citizens in rural New York. They’re not computer or tech-savvy. Without having somebody help them navigate the internet to be able to order this stuff, it’s easier for them to just come here today and get what they need.”
The tests and masks, made available by the state, provide instant access while New Yorkers wait for resources from the federal government.
Americans began ordering at-home tests from the Postal Service this past week, which are expected to be 7-12 days after ordering. The White House is also providing pharmacies and health centers with 400 million N95 masks from the national stockpile, which should be available later this week.
Events like these, hoping to bridge the gap until those resources become available, “The need is now,” said Bill Federice, Chairman of the Schoharie County Board of Supervisors.
This weekend’s efforts come as the positivity rate continues to decline across the state and locally, “The infection rate, yes it’s something you want to keep track of, but much more important is the rate per 100,000, which is the metric that they’re measuring. In Schoharie County, believe it or not, is probably one of the better counties in the state,” the chairman explained.
Governor Hochul tweeted Sunday that the state is continuing to make progress against the winter surge, again encouraging New Yorkers to get vaccinated and boosted and wear a mask.