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Local pharmacy ramps up COVID-19 testing

"People are anxious"
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Posted at 6:16 PM, Dec 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-03 19:24:58-05

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — There is a growing demand for rapid testing in the Buffalo region as COVID-19 cases continue to spike.

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Cars lined up as people wait for rapid testing in Town of Tonawanda.

The Brighton Eggert Pharmacy in the Town of Tonawanda began a drive-thru testing site two weeks ago to help fill the growing demand.

“We’ll come out and swab the patient at the car,” explained Don Arthur, pharmacy owner.

A line of cars backed up to Eggert Road outside the pharmacy.

Nearly 800-people were tested here Wednesday alone.

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Don Arthur, pharmacy owner.

“It’s very effective. It’s rapid. It's 15 minutes and again — I think that's why we are so busy, people are anxious,” remarked Arthur.

Arthur secured a vacant doctor's office next to the pharmacy for a lab to process the results.

“If you have the COVID virus and a significant viral load, the analyzer is going to tell us that you’re positive,” Arthur noted.

Due to privacy and safety reasons, we were not allowed inside the lab.

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Rapid testing outside Brighton Eggert Pharmacy.

Arthur hired 30 people to conduct and process the tests. They are tested every five days.

“Those that are actually swabbing or coming into contact with the sample — that may be positive — we are using nurses —retired nurses people in healthcare that have had some experience,” said Arthur.

The test cost $65. But you can’t just show up. You will need to make an appointment.

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Brighton Eggert Pharmacy set up temporary test lab.

“We’re seeing people who have symptoms. We’re seeing people who absolutely came in contact with someone who tested positive and we are seeing people who want to know,” replied Arthur.

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Brighton Eggert Pharmacy in the Town of Tonawanda.

Each night the pharmacy is required to report the results to the state.

“Unfortunately, we've been running close to ten percent here the last four or five days — so it's concerning,” remarked Arthur.

With such high demand, Arthur will be shifting the drive-thru testing to the DFK Pavilion at Lincoln park in the town of Tonawanda for more space by Friday.

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DFK Pavilion at Lincoln park in the town of Tonawanda for more space by Friday.

“Hey this is something that is desperately needed in our community and what can we do to help him,” commented Joe Emminger, supervisor, Town of Tonawanda.

Emminger helped Arthur in securing the area.

“There was a demand for it and we had the facility, since the facility is basically shut down due to the orange code designation — so the timing was right to jump at this opportunity,” Emminger said.

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Inside Brighton Eggert Pharmacy.

Arthur is also gearing up to administer COVID-19 vaccines once they finally arrive.

He said it took three months to prepare and had to joined a community network.

Arthur said he is now waiting for instructions about the vaccines.

“I’m pretty excited,” responded Arthur.

Arthur said he has noticed a 20-percent increase in flu immunization this season. This year he had about 60-percent of his customers receiving flu shots, up from 40-percent last season.