Different counties, different resources when it comes to COVID testing kits

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — As some counties shell out free testing kits and masks to their residents, others are still waiting for their fair share. The State of New York is sending supplies to counties to hand out, but the distribution schedule is a bit unpredictable.

Mary Novinger has been diligently trying to protect herself from COVID-19 and hearing the message that testing can be critical. “I kept seeing different counties getting test kits and I’m like, I think I saw Ontario County get some. I’m not far from Ontario County, I’m not far from Monroe County, but I’m in Livingston County”.

Monroe County used some of its own federal COVID dollars to buy rapid test kits and get them out to residents before the holidays. Surrounding counties didn’t have the cash to do that, but New York State has started shipping them some tests for public distribution.

Earlier this week, Ontario got its first batch and held a drive-through event which was backed up for miles. As of Wednesday morning, Livingston County was one of six counties that had yet to receive any.

That doesn’t fly with Mary, “I mean, are we all not New York State, you know?”

“We don’t know why were in this batch they didn’t get them yet but it doesn’t seem to be any methodology as to why one got it and what didn’t get it yet. No big deal on our end, when we get it we will act accordingly and swiftly to get it out the door,” said Livingston County Administrator Ian Coyle.

By Wednesday afternoon, Livingston County did get its first small batch, 2,500 testing kits. But they have to be handed out in very targeted ZIP codes with low vaccination and high positivity rates. The county plans to do that the next two Thursdays in York, Portage and Scottsburg.

3 p.m. – 6 p.m.

York Town Hall
3668 Main Street, York, NY 14592
*only residents of ZIP codes 14486 and 14533 are eligible*

Scottsburg Community Center
7351 Route 256, Scottsburg, NY 14545
*only residents of ZIP code 14545 are eligible*

Portage Town Hall
2 North Church Street, Hunt, NY 14846
*only residents of ZIP code 14846 are eligible*

Test kits and masks will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis while supplies last. One COVID-19 test kit per household member (not to exceed two kits per household). You must bring picture ID, and provide a signature in order to pick up kits and masks.

As for the rest of the county, Coyle says, “your need to be met is coming. It just can’t come quite yet because this is the way the distributions were matched up to the county governments.”

The Wayne County Administrator tells me the same thing. As soon as they get a bigger batch of tests from the state, they’ll get them out to residents, likely through town halls and fire departments.

If you have school-aged children, they’ll be getting testing kits at school too.

News10NBC asked the state about how it’s deciding to allocate the tests to counties. A spokesman for the governor tells Jennifer Lewke they are being distributed based on population and it’s taken longer for some counties because of shipping delays. He says counties, where tests are delayed, have been notified and are expected to receive their allocation of a half-million kits as soon as this week.