Samaritan designated as NYS COVID-19 collection site, along with other North Country hospitals

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WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) – Samaritan Medical Center has been designated a New York State-sponsored COVID-19 collection site, one of six in the North Country region.

The partnership allows Samaritan access to a third-party laboratory service, BioReference, which will process many COVID-19 test specimens at no cost to patients or Samaritan.

The state will provide additional testing supplies, test kits and personal protective equipment to Samaritan as needed. A shipment has already been received. Samaritan will provide all staff needed to collect the specimens through their existing drive-up testing location on outer Washington Street in Watertown. They will schedule appointments through their website, provide trained staff to perform the tests and the laboratory support to process the specimens.

The free testing will be prioritized on a first come, first serve basis and any community member with an interest to be tested can be scheduled as long as supplies are available. Samaritan is set to receive 300 kits per week.

Requests for testing must be made online, after which a staff member will call to schedule an appointment. Test results are available within three to five days, as this is not rapid testing. Community members who provide a cell phone number will be notified of their results via text message and those who provide a landline will receive a call.

“Samaritan is pleased to be working with the state to provide a collection site for our region,” said M. Andrew Short, vice president and COO of Samaritan. “North Country hospitals and health systems across a seven-county region worked together to create this model to enhance access to COVID-19 testing throughout northern New York. With the next closest collection site located in Rome, New York, this access is critical to contain the pandemic in our region and keep costs low for those that require testing for their employment.”

The other state-sponsored test sites include Adirondack Health, Champlain Valley Physicians Hospital, Canton-Potsdam Hospital, Hudson Headwaters Health Network and Lewis County General Hospital.

Samaritan began accepting state collection appointment requests on July 13 and appointments are being scheduled for as soon as July 15.

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