WATERTOWN, NY – The New York State Department of Health has partnered with Jefferson County to open a free COVID-19 testing location, as the positivity rate remains high across the region. Samaritan will use its Drive-Up Testing Site, located at 1575 Washington Street in Watertown, to offer 100 free appointments per day. All appointments must be made online at: www.samaritanhealth.com/covid-test.
Appointments will begin on Monday, December 6, 2021, and will initially be offered on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 9:00 a.m. until 12:00 p.m. The testing site will be closed Tuesdays and Sundays. This schedule is subject to change.
Free PCR COVID-19 testing will be prioritized on a first-come, first-served basis and any community member with an interest to be tested can be scheduled as long as supplies are available. Requests for testing must be done online at www.samaritanhealth.com/covid-test.
Test results are available within three to seven days, as this is not rapid testing. However, PCR testing is the most accurate test available, and it is highly recommended that any person with COVID-19 symptoms have a PCR test done. Community members who provide a cell phone number and email will be notified of their negative results via text message and email message. All positive results will be provided by public health.
The state partnership allows Samaritan access to a third-party laboratory service, BioReference, which will process the COVID-19 test specimens at no cost to patients or Samaritan. The state will provide additional testing supplies and test kits to Samaritan, and Samaritan will provide the staff needed to collect the specimens. The Drive-Up Testing Site has been in operation continuously to provide tests to surgical patients and patients with symptoms.
“Samaritan is pleased that the NYS Department of Health listened to our concerns about a lack of free and accessible testing in our region,” said M. Andrew Short, vice president and Chief Operating Officer of Samaritan. “This is a major benefit for our community and Samaritan is proud to be part of the solution and supplying this testing service to the community.”
Once patients arrive at the Drive-Up Testing site, signs will instruct them where to go, to keep car windows closed as they enter the garage bay, and to hold identification up to the window so intake staff can validate name and date of birth during appointment check-in. This is a fully drive-up process, meaning patients will never leave their vehicle. This site is not for walk-in traffic.
Samaritan’s Drive-Up Testing Site was a NYS free testing location once before, from July 2020 through July 2021.