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Free New York State Department of Health COVID-19 Testing Program at Samaritan Medical Center Ends

Published on: August 2, 2021

Watertown, N.Y. – The New York State Department of Health has ended the free, state-sponsored COVID-19 testing program at Samaritan’s Drive-Up Testing location, 1575 Washington St., Watertown. The state cited marked improvements in public health as the reason for the closure of the testing site.

The drive-up testing site had been open to the community since July 13, 2020. Samaritan staff were able to offer 9,000 free COVID-19 tests through the state-sponsored program.

Samaritan Health leadership has engaged in discussions with Jefferson County Public Health officials about ensuring members of the community have access to free testing, especially those who are un- or under-insured and those who need testing for travel or other purposes. This program closure does not impact other Samaritan patients who are currently using the drive-up testing site. Those with symptoms may still call Samaritan’s Resource Line at 315-755-3100 for questions and referrals to testing.

North Country Family Health Center (NCFHC) offers PCR COVID-19 rapid and send-out laboratory testing to anyone in the community in a drive-up testing site at its main campus on Arsenal Street. The Health Center participates with the Federal COVID-19 Uninsured Program to offer uninsured individuals the opportunity to get tested without worry of cost and bills health insurance companies for those who are insured. Any individual in need of a COVID-19 test may contact the Family Health Center at 315-775-7777 to make an appointment, Monday through Friday – individuals DO NOT need to be a Family Health Center patient to be tested.

“We continue to work with all our non-profit community partners to offer convenient and affordable COVID-19 testing and vaccination,” said Joey Marie Horton, North Country Family Health Center CEO. “Our Health Center’s mission is to improve access to needed healthcare services in our community – whether it is COVID-19 testing, COVID-19 vaccinations, or other necessary healthcare, we have put services in place to make healthcare as convenient and cost effective as possible for community members to stay safe and healthy.”

North Country Family Health Center offers the Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccinations during weekly vaccination clinics to any community member in need, to those with health insurance, those uninsured, or those underinsured. Any community member in need of a COVID-19 vaccination may call 315-782-9450 to schedule an appointment. The Family Health Center has provided over 6,000 COVID-19 vaccinations to date.

All community members are encouraged to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, as it is the best way to stop the spread and severity of the disease. There are many vaccination clinics available for free to eligible community members, including weekly Wednesday and Thursday clinics run by the Jefferson County Public Health Service. Visit to make an appointment or for more information.

Community members can also use New York State’s coronavirus website, which lists additional COVID-19 test and vaccination site locations, including local urgent care clinics and pharmacies.

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