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COVID-19: Testing Update

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Ellis extends commitment to testing collaborative

After committing to and delivering 1,500 COVID-19 tests, Ellis will continue program with once-a-week testing site at its McClellan campus

Having administered its initial allotment of 1,500 tests for the COVID-19 community walk-up and drive-thru testing program, Ellis Medicine announced today it will extend the program for the foreseeable future with weekly testing at its McClellan Street Health Center, 600 McClellan St. The tests will be offered every Thursday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., beginning May 21.

The collaboration between the five Schenectady healthcare organizations successfully developed pop-up mobile testing sites beginning in April in underserved neighborhoods in Schenectady. Ellis committed to providing staff and kits to test 1,500 area residents. Beginning May 11, testing was expanded beyond those with COVID-19 symptoms to include high-risk patients without symptoms (those over age 65, with heart disease, asthma, diabetes or other health issues), and those exposed to COVID-19. As of 5 p.m. on Friday, May 15, 1,636 tests have been administered as part of this collaboration; 4 percent of tests for which results are available have come back positive.

Now that the 1,500 tests commitment has been fulfilled, Ellis is working with its collaborators to extend the program to continue meeting public health needs.

The site will be available for both foot traffic and drive-through traffic, though the primary goal is to reach symptomatic people who are without access to transportation, or face other barriers to testing. No prescriptions are needed and tests will be offered to those with or without insurance.

As a reminder, we are only testing those individuals who are currently showing symptoms. Common symptoms include fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, and loss of taste and/or smell.

Not sure if you have COVID-19 symptoms or are eligible to be tested? Call our COVID-19 hotline at 518-831-7070.

COVID-19 Testing Schedule:





Thursdays beginning May 21

Ellis Medicine's McClellan Street Health Center
600 McClellan Street, Schenectady

9 am-5 pm*


*Last available times for walk ups will be at 4:30 pm; sites will close for staff breaks between 1 pm and 2 pm

COVID-19 Testing: What You Should Know

Public Eductation Brief

Here’s a look at some frequently asked questions.

Q. Can’t doctors take better care of me if they know I’ve tested positive for the virus?

A. Whether or not a patient has been tested does not change the physician’s treatment options. There are currently no medications specifically for COVID-19. Doctors treat patients with COVID-19 mainly based on their symptoms and any complications. For example, a person with COVID-19 symptoms — minor or significant — who has been diagnosed through a test will be medically treated in the same manner as an undiagnosed person with the same symptoms. If a doctor determines that a patient’s symptoms require hospitalization, that person will be hospitalized regardless of whether or not they have received a positive COVID-19 test.

Q. If a positive test doesn’t change the way a person is medically treated, why test anyone?

A. There are a number of important reasons to test people for COVID-19. When testing supplies are limited, we must prioritize our use for those instances where the benefit is greatest:

            • Hospitalized Patients. It is particularly important to test hospitalized patients who are exhibiting symptoms of COVID-19 so we can be sure that the healthcare providers who are caring for them are wearing the proper protective equipment and following all necessary precautionary procedures to minimize the risk of spreading the virus to themselves and other   patients. It is imperative that we minimize the risk of exposure to other hospitalized people whose immune systems and overall health are already compromised, and that we keep as many healthcare professionals as possible healthy and on the job to care for those of us who are ill.

            • Healthcare Professionals. It is important to have testing kits available for healthcare professionals who exhibit symptoms of COVID-19 so that the virus can be confirmed or ruled out, and they can return to the care of patients as soon as they are deemed healthy by a physician and public health offiicals.

Testing of non-hospitalized people with COVID-19 symptoms is also important because if we can confirm that a patient has the virus, public health officials can attempt to reach people who have been in contact with the patient and require that they enter self-quarantine in an effort to prevent the spread of the illness.

Testing of all symptomatic people also helps give us the most accurate accounting possible of the number of COVID-19 cases and how that number is growing or coming under control.

But while these are both compelling reasons to test — and would merit testing in the perfect world — when testing kits are limited, and because testing does not change the way in which a patient is medically treated, priorities must be placed on protecting our most seriously ill patients and the people who care for them.

Q. If I have COVID-19 symptoms, but don’t qualify for a test, what should I do?

A. The first thing you should do is consult with your primary care doctor immediately. If you do not have a primary care doctor, you should call your county public health office. In general, people exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms who have not been advised by a physician or public health professional to go to the hospital, should go into self-quarantine at home for 14 days, practice proper social distancing and preventive hygiene measures, and follow any prescribed treatment regimen. If symptoms worsen or do not go away, you should once again contact your doctor or your county public office.

Q. To what degree should I stay away from other people if I have symptoms but have not received a test?

A. You should stay at home, separate yourself as much as possible from other people and follow these precautionary guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control.


Ellis Medicine is committed to doing all we can to help stop the spread of COVID-19 in our community and to care for anyone who may at some point require hospitalization due to the virus. We appreciate your interest in learning more about COVID-19 testing, and we thank you for doing all you can to protect our community. Stay home and stay healthy!


Thank you again for your continued calm and conscientious attention as we all work together to limit the impacts of COVID-19.

Ellis Medicine | Newsroom

Ellis Medicine Media Inquiries

Media inquiries should be directed to the Communications Department at Ellis Medicine. The Communications Department is open and staffed Monday through Friday, from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm. The department can be reached by phone at 518.232.9288. If you leave a message your call will typically be returned within 24 hours.

All official communications regarding Ellis Medicine are arranged through the Communications Department. We look forward to working with members of the public and media organizations to provide accurate, up-to-date information about Ellis Medicine.


Ellis Medicine
1101 Nott Street
Schenectady, NY 12308