ALBANY — Shaker Place, the county-run nursing home, will be one of the first in the nation to get rapid result COVID-19 testing.
Once the kits arrive and the machine is set up to run the results, a COVID-19 test will take less than 30 minutes opposed to an average of seven days. And it will save the county about $10,000 a week it is currently spending on testing nursing home workers.
Nursing home workers were state-mandated to get tested twice a week but that got bumped down to once a week at a cost of about $16,000 a week. Cost aside, said County Executive Dan McCoy, with a the lag between test and results, it didn’t make any sense.
“Sometimes, we could give three tests before we get the first test back,” McCoy said.
Albany County is one of three counties in the state picked by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to use the recently Federal Drug Administration-approved rapid testing technology.
As the technology advances, it could have widespread applications for businesses and schools.
Meanwhile, there were 16 Albany County residents who tested positive from Tuesday to Wednesday bringing the total to 2,474 since the pandemic began in mid-March. That follows zero cases reported from Monday to Tuesday for the first time since June 23.
As of Wednesday, there are 499 under mandatory quarantine with nine people hospitalized for a rate of .36 percent.
“Yesterday was a bit of a blip,” said Dr. Elizabeth Whalen, head of the Albany County Department of Health. “When we have a lot of cases on Tuesday and no cases on Monday we are caution of the fact reporting may have been delayed.”