Monroe County hands out more testing kits with busy holiday week ahead

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — This is a big weekend – the last before that festive fellow dressed in red makes his trek across rooftops.

As many are shopping for last-minute gifts, some took a detour to pick up a test kit in Irondequoit and Rochester over the weekend.

Monroe County leaders say they hope you use your kit before that big gathering at grandma’s house. In Rochester, they handed out about 5,000 test kits Saturday.

"We have to do so, responsibly, and safely. Testing is the only way to know,” said Jessica Alaimo, the emergency operations coordinator for the City of Rochester.

An early Christmas gift idea could be a rapid test. Thousands of free test kits have already been distributed throughout the city, and continued over the weekend in Rochester, at the Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center and in Irondequoit inside the Department of Public Works.

"People really care about making sure they’re COVID-free and safe for the holidays and making sure they’re loved ones are safe, too,” Alaimo said.

While these test kits are another great tool for protection, like masking, or getting vaccinated, we know there are multiple ways to test for virus. Monroe County Health Commissioner Doctor Michael Mendoza says that’s where it can become a challenge and why these test kits are highly recommended before gathering.

"If you’re looking for a highly accurate test to see if you have pieces of the RNA virus from coronavirus in your nose the PCR test is great but it doesn’t necessarily tell you if you’re contagious and when we’re looking at a test that the public can use to make decisions on what they’re doing or not doing a test like the antigen test is far better because it tells you if you’re contagious right away,” Mendoza said.

Sunday test kits will be handed out at Edgerton R-Center from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. It will be a one-stop shop, a vaccine clinic will be running there too from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.