Vital services restored

Free testing for the novel coronavirus will resume at the Maple Ridge Center, 7421 East Road in Lowville. Only people working or living in Lewis County can use the service at this time. Photo provided

Recognizing the need to ensure people have sufficient resources to fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus, officials in Lewis County succeeded in restoring testing services.

In July, authorities from the Lewis County Health System informed members of the public that the drive-through testing site at the Maple Ridge Center near Lowville would close. The facility was opened a year earlier in collaboration with the state Department of Health. It offered free testing to people who wanted to determine if they had become infected.

About 11,200 coronavirus tests were administered during that year. When the state announced last month that it was closing the site, county officials committed themselves to bringing testing back.

There are few other sites in Lewis County where testing is offered. This is done primarily at local pharmacies. So it was imperative for testing to be restored at the Maple Ridge Center.

“With part of the $1.1 million in federal funding dedicated to ensuring children are able to continue in-school learning despite the ongoing threat of COVID-19, Lewis County Public Health Director Ashley R. Waite plans to restore [coronavirus] testing at Maple Ridge through an agreement with the health system at an estimated cost of $641,160 for 52 weeks,” according to a story published July 21 by the Watertown Daily Times (http://wdt.me/dBVVtM). “To date, Public Health has been using the Emergency Response Department’s trailer for testing symptomatic individuals needing a COVID-19 test and for bringing testing to communities that may be experiencing a spike in cases, Mrs. Waite said. This funding stream, which began July 1, will last until July 31, 2022. Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Funding totaling $468,000 is also available to Public Health.”

County officials recently announced that testing at this site had been restored. Testing is available from noon to 1 p.m. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at the Maple Ridge Center at 7421 East Road, although it will be closed on Labor Day. As county money is included in the funding for the site, testing will be offered to county residents only.

This is wonderful news. The ongoing pandemic must be controlled, and testing is essential for treating those who have become infected. We commend county officials for carrying through on their goal of restoring this service for their constituents.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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