WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — The New York State Department of Health has canceled the free COVID-19 testing program at Samaritan Hospital.

The drive-up testing site had been open to the community since July 13 of 2020 and was located at 1575 Washington Street in Watertown. Samaritan staff were able to offer 9,000 free COVID-19 tests through the state-sponsored program.

The state said the decision to close the site was made because of public health improvements in the area.

Samaritan Health leadership has been working with Jefferson County Public Health officials to make sure the community still has free testing available, especially for those who don’t have insurance or are under-insured. This program closure does not impact other Samaritan patients who are currently using the drive-up testing site.

Those with symptoms can still contact Samaritan with questions about testing.

North Country Family Health Center will still offer PCR COVID-19 rapid and send-out testing to anyone in the community at their drive-up testing site at its main campus on Arsenal Street. The center works with the Federal COVID-19 Uninsured Program to make testing available for those that do not have the coverage to do so.

The North Country Family Health Center CEO Joey Marie Horton said they are proud to provide the community with the tools needed to stay safe.

“We continue to work with all our non-profit community partners to offer convenient and affordable COVID-19 testing and vaccination,” Horton said. “Our Health Center’s mission is to improve access to needed healthcare services in our community – whether it is COVID-19 testing, COVID-19 vaccinations, or other necessary healthcare, we have put services in place to make healthcare as convenient and cost effective as possible for community members to stay safe and healthy.”

Individuals do not need to be a Family Health Center patient to be tested and can contact the center Monday through Friday.