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COVID-19: Too long a wait for test results

As colleges and schools prepare for a possible reopening in late August or early September, testing for COVID-19 has become a more important issue. How do educational institutions keep everyone safe and will there be enough tests for all students and staff?

It is an issue the United University Professions union has brought up in regard to the situation at the State University of New York at Fredonia. They have recommended testing for all who return to campus.

But even if there are tests, the time between when the test is given and when the results return are a bit discouraging. Some tests can come back the same day. Others take five days to a week.

Christine Schuyler, county health director, says there is no shortage of testing supplies here. But the wait is a concern.

“It is important for local health authorities to receive positive test results as quickly as possible,” Schuyler said. “The sooner we know of someone who has tested positive, the sooner they can be contacted, placed into mandatory isolation, and their contacts traced and put into mandatory or precautionary quarantine.”

State Gov. Andrew Cuomo put a deadline of July 31 for every school district to have a return plan for the fall. Some of those districts — as well as SUNY campuses — are likely thinking about testing at one time or another.

With the tests in ample supply, it now appears we need quicker answers after someone has been tested.

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