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Quest Diagnostics expands testing in WNY and neighboring regions

Posted at 11:58 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 23:58:20-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Three thousand COVID-19 tests per day will be coming to the Western New York, Southern Tier, and Finger Lakes regions.

Congressman Tom Reed (R-23) said he reached out to Quest Diagnostics in an effort to expand testing in the three regions, which all fall short of the testing requirement outlined in Governor Andrew Cuomo's requirements for a region to reopen. If a region meets all the criteria, it could begin the reopening process on May 15th.

“Testing, and testing capacity, and test kits are a real problem," Reed said.

He said the tests will be distributed based on need, meaning supplies can shift multiple times a week.

“It is not as if one region will be allocated X,Y,Z" he said. "This is meant to be a supplemental source to be turned to wherever it needs to go, in order to meet that capacity.”

About 3 million people live in the three regions. When it comes to testing, the requirement for a region to reopen is 30 out of 1,000 people tested per month. Reed said the new tests, combined with what's already being done, will make that happen. He said, however, that Quest is looking at a May 18th start date, three days after qualified regions can begin reopening.

The Southern Tier and Finger Lakes only fall short in testing and contact tracer categories. There's more work to be done in Western New York, which falls short on four out of seven requirements, including hospitalization rates.

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said he's eyeing a June 1st reopening.