What’s Causing High COVID Positives At Rapid Test Sites
WKBW-TV reports 3.1% of the 1200 rapid COVID-19 tests administered throughout the Buffalo and Western New York area this past Sunday were positive.
“I think this is a good wake up call for us here in Western New York,” Dr. Thomas Russo, Professor and Chief of Infectious Disease at the University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Science, said.
Buffalo's positive rapid test rate was 4.8%, Erie County had a 0.6% positive rate. Chautauqua County saw a 1.4% percent positive rate. Niagara County had a surprising 4% positive rate. Overall, 2% of all COVID-19 tests were positive across the entire Western New York area.
Stapleton and Dr. Russo cautioned about being alarmed.
“The percent of positive tests is not the same as the percent of individuals infected in the community... That by far overrepresents the incidence of infection that's occurring right now in the community which is much, much lower,” Dr. Russo said.
A representative from the Governor's office said the rapid tests were not random. Those represented by the tests were people who may have symptoms or could have been exposed.
People who went to the sites with symptoms are more likely to test positive.
Both Stapleton and Dr. Russo said the rapid test results are beneficial and give people the opportunity to isolate to keep the virus from spreading.
For now, Dr. Russo said Western New Yorkers should continue to be rigorous about the use of masks... together with physical distancing and hand washing,
The NYS Department of Health is set to continue rapid tests in Western New York until the end of the day on Wednesday.