Lewis County gives out all its COVID tests, masks

The QuickVue at-home COVID-19 test by Quidel

LOWVILLE — Lewis County’s Saturday morning supply of at-home COVID-19 test kits and KN95 masks quickly ran out.

The county consistently has one of the highest COVID-19 positivity rates in the state and still one of the bottom two vaccination rates and significant resistance to wearing masks among many residents.

The distribution of a maximum of three QuickVue at-home tests and up to five KN95 masks, all free of charge, was scheduled to take place from 10 a.m. to noon at the 15 volunteer fire departments throughout the county.

By 10:30 a.m. — some locations by 10:15 a.m. — all 9,100 test kits, 7,500 KN95 masks and 7,000 surgical masks were in the hands of residents throughout the county.

“Definitely a successful morning, but clearly there was demand for more. We are expecting another shipment of test kits the week of (Jan. 17) and I’m going to try to get another purchase of the test kits we (the county) bought,” County Manager Ryan M. Piche said. “It was a good morning, but we definitely wished we had more.”

Lewis County ordered 8,000 test kits to distribute to residents about three weeks before another 1,100 kits from the state and the KN95 masks arrived.

Each fire department set up their own system to traffic people through their halls. Some used a drive-thru system despite the single-digit temperatures, and some took names of those who came too late to receive the items to be called first for the next distribution.

Many residents took to Facebook to thank their fire departments.

“All 14 Fire Depts in the county participated. Always there to help. All heroes,” Randa Ortlieb wrote.

Karen Clarke Meeker commented: “It was seamless! Definitely a job well done for our community!”

Participating fire departments included Beaver Falls, Castorland, Constableville, Copenhagen, Croghan, 3G in Glenfield, 3G in Brantingham, Lowville, Lyons Falls, Martinsburg, New Bremen, Port Leyden, Turin, West Leyden and Harrisville, each of which will receive a $500 donation from the county manager’s discretionary fund for their work on the distribution effort.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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