Ellis extends commitment to testing collaborative
Friday, May 15, 2020
After committing to and delivering 1,500 COVID-19 tests, Ellis will continue program with once-a-week testing site at its McClellan campus
SCHENECTADY, NY – 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.
“All of us at Ellis are proud of the work we did throughout this collaboration to bring testing directly into Schenectady’s neighborhoods, expanding access and offering a testing program in the most convenient way possible,” said Leslyn Williamson, Ellis’ Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officer, referring to the collaboration between Ellis, Schenectady County Public Health Services, Hometown Health Centers, Healthy Capital District Initiative (HCDI), and MVP Health Care. “We offered, and will continue to offer, COVID-19 tests whether you have insurance or not. Our neighbors walk up, drive up, bike up, and they get tested without a need for an appointment, without a prescription from their doctor.”
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.
“There are many factors that are taxing our ability to offer walk-up/drive-thru tests daily, and it all comes down to available supplies when you have a national shortage of testing materials,” Williamson said. “We are meeting new requirements to test staff in our nursing home. There are new recommendations to test the moms-to-be who will be delivering at our Bellevue Woman’s Center. While such factors are a challenge, we are committed to extending this program with our partners to the greatest extent possible.”
Hometown Health has pledged to continue its Saturday testing program at its 1044 State St. location and is exploring other partnership opportunities with Schenectady County Public Health Services to address the need for wide-spread testing.
“We all recognized the urgent need to attain wide spread testing in our community, especially in the communities that have social, racial, and economic disparities” said Lisa A. Ayers, Public Health Director and Director of Prevention and Patient Services for Schenectady County Public Health Services.
“By identifying COVID-positive people, we can both minimize the risk of spread and potentially can identify people earlier enough in the disease process to prevent the more serious complications associated with this virus.” Ayers added. “With the additional data that is gained from community testing we are better equipped to provide community mitigation. We have also submitted an operational plan to the NYS Department of Health to earn additional support in the form of kits and supplies, in hopes that we can expand this project.”
“We need to ensure access to COVID-19 testing in medically underserved neighborhoods,” said Hometown Health Centers Chief Medical Officer, Cristine Espinosa. “We are proud to work with our healthcare partners in Schenectady to slow the spread of this virus and hopefully save lives.”
“As a health insurance company, it is our duty to do everything we can to support our communities as they navigate this unprecedented crisis,” said MVP Health Care’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Carl Cameron. “We are proud of the success that this local, community-wide testing program has had to date, and we will continue to work diligently with our partners to bring testing to those who need it.”
FUTURE TEST SITES: WHEN & WHERE
beginning May 21
Ellis Medicine's McClellan Street Health Center
600 McClellan St., Schenectady
9 am-5 pm*
beginning May 16
Hometown Health Centers
1044 State St., Schenectady**
* Last available times will be at 4:30 pm; site will close for staff breaks between 1 and 2 pm daily.
** Hometown Health testing by appointment. Residents should call 518.688.3420 for an arrival time.
Ellis Medicine | Newsroom
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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.
1101 Nott Street
Schenectady, NY 12308