BELMONT — Faced with a spike in COVID-19 cases over the past several days, Allegany County will begin offering free rapid tests on Monday.

Residents must call to make an appointment for a rapid test, Theresa K. Moore of the county’s health department said Friday, insisting, “You MUST ave an appointment to be tested.”

Residents should call (585) 268-9250 to make an appointment.

The county health department is offering the testing in collaboration with the New York State Department of Health. Gov. Andrew Cuomo pledged earlier this month to make rapid testing available in every county of the state.

The free rapid testing was announced Friday as Allegany County reported five new cases of COVID-19, pushing the county’s total since the pandemic began to 208.

The county’s total of active cases was 151 as 154 residents have recovered from the virus and there have been three deaths, two of which were reported earlier this week. There were 316 county residents in quarantine on Friday.

Allegany County also reported that an employee who works in the County Office Building tested positive for COVID-19.

Curt Crandall, chairman of the County legislature, said that immediate action by the county health department was taken to include contact tracing and other requirements when someone tests positive.

“The area where the employee works will be cleaned before other employees or members of the public will be allowed into that area,” Crandall said. “There is no immediate danger or concern for the public or employees working with the person who tested positive.”

If employees or members of the public are contacts of this employee, and require quarantines, Crandall said they will receive a phone call and further instructions from the health department.

“It is important to note that casual contact with a positive person does not necessarily make you a direct contact that would require quarantine,” Crandall said. “Whether you are a direct contact requiring quarantine, depends on a number of factors including the use of face coverings, social distancing, and the duration of contact.”

He said if you do not receive a phone call from the health department, you are not a direct contact subject to quarantine.

“Our facilities effected by this will be open, business as usual, on Monday,” Crandall said.

The free testing will occur at a drive-up site, with residents remaining in their vehicles to be tested. Information about the location and times will be given when residents call to make appointments, Moore said.

Residents will need to bring a photo ID with them, while the health department asks that they not bring other individuals in their vehicle who are not getting tested.

“Please be prepared to return directly home and go into isolation or quarantine after the test if you or a family member tests positive for COVID-19,” Moore said.

While cases have been up in Allegany County, by contrast, Steuben County was listed as having 53 new positive cases on Friday alone, according to state data, pushing its total to 817.

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