Bedford and Mount Kisco are organizing a drive-through diagnostic COVID-19 testing site for the two municipalities’ residents which could launch as soon as this Saturday.
Bedford Supervisor Chris Burdick, with assistance from Mount Kisco Mayor Gina Picinich and County Legislator Kitley Covill (D-Katonah), has identified the Bedford Hills train station as the location. As of Monday, some of the logistics still needed to be ironed out, but Burdick and Picinich said they were eyeing this Saturday and to initially have testing conducted two days a week from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
“Testing is a critical element in our ability to reopen, and so the sooner we can get this up and running and have experience with it, the better the ability to carry increased capacity as needed,” Burdick said.
Personnel from a Connecticut-based medical group certified to operate in its home state as well as New York would conduct the nasal and saliva swab testing, Burdick said. It was unclear how many tests might be conducted each day.
“We’re going to see how Saturday goes and see what the volume is and adjust accordingly,” he said.
As New York state has been looking to increase testing capacity, localities have increasingly turned to private labs and medical facilities in hopes of bringing that testing to scale.
Covill said as long as the outfit is certified and licensed to operate, the county Department of Health remains neutral. It is only when the state is looking to set up a testing site, will they call upon the county health department, she said.
Regardless of the entity, the results will be reported to the state.
“They don’t do the vetting for anybody, so I guess it’s up to Chris and Gina and me to make sure that whoever knocks on the door or whoever’s door we may knock on is legitimately licensed in New York State to perform this kind of testing function,” Covill said.
There has been no regular testing site in the northern half of the county, prompting Burdick and Picinich to search for a way to offer it to their residents.
Picinich said a website will be set up where residents of either municipality will be able to set an appointment to avoid a free-for-all at the testing site. She said it’s critical that the number of tests be increased so the public has confidence and that policymakers can make sound decisions regarding the economy’s reopening.
“We’re working together on that, again with the idea and the notion (that) the more positives we can identify, the more cases we can trace and isolate,” Picinich said.
Covill said that Westchester County has pressed the state for testing that could accept residents from throughout the northern part of the county, but that hasn’t materialized. FDR Park in Yorktown had been identified as one suitable location with the space needed to take in a large volume of cars.
“We’re going to see how it goes but we think that two days a week will cover it,” Burdick said of the estimated demand at the Bedford Hills location. “It could be we open up the demand for tests.”
More information about hours and how to secure an appointment is expected to be known later this week through the two municipalities, he said.