Questions About Testing and Contact Tracing?

Ontario County Public Health has the answers! Take a moment to get your questions answered by Kate Ott, MPH,  Deputy Director for Ontario County Public Health.

(Updated 5/11/2020)

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COVID-19 Testing

Diagnostic (Swab) verses Antibody (Serum)

There has been a lot of talk about COVID-19 testing in the news. Diagnostic (nasopharyngeal swab) testing is not the same as an antibody test. 

Diagnostic testing: Diagnostic tests check samples from your respiratory system (such as swabs of the inside of the nose) to tell you if you currently have an infection with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Diagnostic testing is used to diagnose COVID-19. 

Who needs diagnostic testing? According to New York State Department of Health, COVID-19 diagnostic testing is for people: (Updated 5/18/2020)

  • With COVID-19 symptoms (cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing,fever, chills, muscle pain, sore throat and new loss of taste or smell)
  • That have/had contact with someone positive for COVID-19 or in quarantine
  • Working in healthcare, in a nursing home or as a first responder
  • Working directly with the public
  • Returning in to work in Phase 1 of the NYS reopening plan
  • Still unsure if you should be tested? Take the testing assessment: Click here

All diagnostic testing for COVID 19 in Ontario County should be through your healthcare provider. Some Urgent Care facilities are also doing COVID-19 testing. You should call the Urgent Care Center before going if you think you may have COVID-19.

If you do not have a healthcare provider call one of our three Federally Qualified Healthcare Centers (FQHC).  

Finger Lakes Community Health: 

  • Phone: 315-531-9102

Jordan Health:

  • Phone: 1-585-396-0222

Mosaic Health:

Other Diagnostic Testing Options:

If you are having trouble getting COVID-19 testing, call Ontario County Public Health and speak to a Registered Nurse (1-585-396-4551).  

Antibody blood test: Antibody blood tests, also called serologic tests. Antibody tests heck your blood (serum) for antibodies that would show if you have had a previous infection. Antibodies are proteins that help fight off germs. Antibody testing is not used to diagnose COVID-19. A serologic test may not be able to show if you have a current infection, because it can take 1 to 3 weeks to make antibodies after symptoms occur.

Unknowns: We do not know yet if having antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 can protect someone from getting infected with that virus again, or how long that protection might last. Scientists are doing studies to answer those questions.

Antibody Testing Availability:

Currently, providing BOTH diagnostic and serologic antibody testing:

  • WellNow Urgent care in Geneva has the ability to do both COVID-19 diagnostic testing and antibody testing. To learn more about eligibility and cost please visit their website. Click here
  • Finger Lakes Health, Urgent Care in Geneva has the ability to do both COVID-19 diagnostic testing and antibody testing. To learn more about eligibility and cost please visit their website. Click here

For both Diagnostic and Antibody Testing: 

Testing Prioritization:
On April 17, 2020, Executive Order 202.19 was issued by NYSDOH to define test prioritization as follows: 

  • Symptomatic individuals, particularly if the person is part of a high-risk population, including persons who are hospitalized; 
  • persons residing in nursing homes, long-term care facilities, or other congregate care settings; 
  • persons who have a compromised immune system; 
  • persons who have an underlying health condition; and persons who are 70 years of age or older.
  • Individuals who have had close (i.e. within six feet) or proximate contact with a person known to be positive with COVID-19.
  • Individuals who are employed as health care workers, first responders, or in any position within a nursing home, long-term care facility, or other congregate care setting, Others including but not limited to:
    • Correction/Parole/Probation Officers
    • Direct Care Providers
    • Firefighters
    • Health Care Practitioners, Professionals, Aides, and Support Staff (e.g. Physicians, Nurses, Public Health Personnel)
    • Medical Specialists
    • Nutritionists and Dietitians
    • Occupational/Physical/Recreational/Speech Therapists
    • Paramedics/Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs)
    • Police Officers
    • Psychologists/Psychiatrists
    • Residential Care Program Managers

Individuals who are employed as essential employees who directly interact with the public while working, including but not limited to:

  • Animal Care Workers (e.g. Veterinarians)
  • Automotive Service and Repair Workers
  • Bank Tellers and Workers
  • Building Code Enforcement Officers
  • Child Care Workers
  • Client-Facing Case Managers and Coordinators
  • Counselors (e.g. Mental Health, Addiction, Youth, Vocational, Crisis, etc.)
  • Delivery Workers 
  • Dentists and Dental Hygienists
  • Essential Construction Workers at Occupied Residences or Buildings
  • Faith-Based Leaders (e.g. Chaplains, Clergy Members)
  • Field Investigators/Regulators for Health and Safety
  • Food Service Workers
  • Funeral Home Workers
  • Hotel/Motel Workers
  • Human Services Providers
  • Laundry and Dry Cleaning Workers
  • Mail and Shipping Workers
  • Maintenance and Janitorial/Cleaning Workers
  • Optometrists, Opticians, and Supporting Staff
  • Retail Workers at Essential Businesses (e.g. Grocery Stores, Pharmacies, Convenience Stores, Gas Stations, Hardware Stores)
  • Security Guards and Personnel
  • Shelter Workers and Homelessness Support Staff
  • Social Workers
  • Teachers/Professors/Educators
  • Transit Workers (e.g. Airports, Railways, Buses, and For-Hire Vehicles
  • Trash and Recycling Workers
  • Utility Workers

(Updated 5/6/2020)

If you test positive or negative for COVID-19, no matter the type of test, you still should take preventive measures to protect others: Click here to learn more

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