Allegany County map

BELMONT — On a day when Allegany County recorded 23 new cases of COVID-19 in residents, the county’s Department of Health said Thursday it will offer free drive-up rapid testing without an appointment on Saturday.

The department, working with the New York State Department of Health, has been offering free rapid testing since Monday, but appointments have been necessary.

Theresa K. Moore, supervising public health educator and public information officer for the county health department, said the free drive-up rapid testing for COVID-19 will be 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Belmont BOCES, 5536 County Route 48.

The rapid testing is open to Allegany County residents only. As a drive-up clinic, those who arrive for testing will remain in their vehicles.

Moore stressed that no one should be in a vehicle who is not getting tested. She also said anyone who gets tested should be prepared to return directly home and go into isolation or quarantine after the test, if they or a family member tests positive for COVID-19.

The county health department reported that, of 149 rapid tests completed Monday through Wednesday, there were three positive tests.

With the 23 new positives reported Thursday, Allegany County’s confirmed total since the spring was up to 273. There have been 181 residents who have recovered, while there have been three deaths due to COVID-19.

As of Thursday, there were 317 county residents in quarantine.

In a breakdown of the county’s cases, as of Oct. 18, the most so far — 62 — have been recorded in County Legislative District 1, which is roughly the northwest part of the county. The numbers in that district jumped after there were 30 positives earlier this month associated with a Houghton nursing home.

Other totals in the county’s legislative districts have been as follows: 34 in District 2, 35 in District 3, 49 in District 4, which includes Wellsville, and 48 in District 5, which is roughly the northeast part of the county.

Allegany County’s immediate neighbor to the east, Steuben County, remained on Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s watchlist as having a focus area with one of the highest infection rates in the state, at 5.11%. Chemung and Broome counties along the Southern Tier had focus areas with positivity rates at more than 9%.

“Through the fall, we will see micro-clusters come and go — they can literally be generated by a couple of events that violated rules,” Cuomo said in a press statement. “We might all be feeling COVID-fatigue, but we cannot afford to go backwards: We must all keep washing our hands, wearing our masks and remaining socially distant to protect the progress we’ve made in New York.”

The governor noted that the positive testing rate in all focus areas under the state’s micro-cluster strategy was 3.2% on Wednesday, while outside the focus zone areas the positivity rate was 0.96%.

In Western New York, the positivity rate was 1.5% on Wednesday — that was down from 2% on Tuesday, but it still was tied for the highest rate of any region in the state with Mid-Hudson and the Southern Tier.

Across the state Wednesday, there were 15 deaths, increasing the confirmed New York total to 25,694.

Patient hospitalizations across the state were 986, increasing by 36 from Tuesday, with 166 patients newly admitted. There were 209 (+8) patients in New York ICUs, with 106 (+3) intubated.

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