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Suffolk to Open Testing Sites in Covid Hotspots Amid Omicron Surge

covid testing
A man receives a Covid-19 test at a mobile testing van in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., June 2, 2021. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Suffolk County will open three new Covid-19 testing sites in virus hotspots as the Omicron variant drives a spike in cases, with the county reaching 13.6% positivity on Tuesday, County Executive Steve Bellone announced.

Demand for Covid testing has increased rapidly as the highly contagious Omicron Covid-19 strain spreads and people look to gather with family for Christmas and New Year’s in the upcoming weeks. The new county sites will be located in Westhampton Beach, West Sayville, and Sound Beach, where Bellone notes there are higher positivity rates than the rest of the county.

“I will be using emergency powers to expedite procurement to expand testing sites in Suffolk County,” Bellone said. “We encourage those to move as quickly as possible. We need more testing given the surge that we’re seeing with the Omicron variant.”

Testing sites at Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach and at a location in West Sayville will open on Dec. 27. The Sound Beach site will open on Jan. 4.

Bellone noted that while cases are at the highest the county has seen in more than a year, 90 percent of adults in Suffolk are fully vaccinated, likely protecting them from severe illness. Last year at this time, Suffolk’s hospitals had 527 Covid-19 patients while today there are 326 patients hospitalized for Covid in Suffolk.

However, Bellone encouraged those who are vaccinated to now receive a booster shot to protect them from illness from the Omicron variant.

“The best way that we know to protect ourselves from this virus is to get vaccinated and get boosted,” Bellone said. “The booster shot is the best protection that you can have, and the booster numbers are still relatively low.”

Vaccination sites and information about the vaccines can be found at suffolkcountyny.gov/vaccine.

For more coronavirus coverage, visit longislandpress.com/coronavirus.

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