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Doctors are fighting the second wave of COVID-19 in WNY with lessons and preparation from the first

Posted at 3:52 PM, Nov 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-13 15:53:00-05

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — As Western New York gets slammed with the second coronavirus wave, hospital systems and health centers are looking back at lessons learned from a few months ago.

Dr. LaVonne Ansari is the executive director of the Community Health Center of Buffalo which has four locations throughout Western New York.

She told 7 Eyewitness News the facilities take roughly 70,000 appointments each year, and they’re federally mandated to treat everyone regardless of ability to pay.

Dr. Ansari says this time around, the centers are more prepared with the supplies necessary to detect the virus.

“When we started with Covid in March, this community had no tests,” she said. “This community had to fight to get tests in the community. Now we have the tests, and the testing is starting to go up again.”

With the surge in testing, some health centers are being forced to shut down or convert back to Telehealth.

Even the Erie County Health Department is limiting who they will test.

But, Dr. Ansari said her staff is still prepared to treat anyone who arrives for drive-thru testing or walk-in diagnostic testing.

She said only testing the symptomatic is a harder way to fight the spread of COVID-19 in our area.

“When you’re symptomatic — people come for the test because they [think] they’re feeling something. We’re just as concerned for those people who are asymptomatic because you’re most infections around three days or so before you get symptoms.”

Dr. Ansari said the second wave is going to be about going back to what we already know: stay away from people and wash your hands.

As far as getting a vaccine quickly — she said it’s not likely the general public will get one any time soon so prevention is key.

“There’s no vaccine coming soon, she said. “Even if it comes soon, we have 300 million people in this country. We don’t have a clue how it’s going to work, how long it works... if there’s any immunity to it. So the best thing we can do is prevent and prepare.”

All CHCB sites are offering testing Monday-Friday from 8:30-4:30, and in Buffalo on Saturday from 8:30-4:30, as well.

Patients and non-patients can be tested. You don’t need insurance or a referral.

Make an appointment at 716-986-9199 ext. 5907

Buffalo: 34 Benwood Ave, Buffalo, NY, 14214

Lockport: 38 Heritage Court, Lockport, NY, 14094

Cheektowaga: 934 Cleveland Drive, Cheektowaga, NY, 14225

Niagara Falls: 2715 Highland Avenue, Niagara Falls, NY, 14305