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Times Union Center to become COVID testing site

Times Union Center to become COVID testing site
Times Union Center to become COVID testing site
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ALBANY (WRGB ) - As the weather gets colder, Albany County and Whitney Young Health are moving a COVID testing site indoors to the Times Union Center.

"Based on the weather, we wanted to come up with a solution that was socially distanced but would also shield patients as well as employees from the elements." Ed McNamara, the Chief Administrative Officer for Whitney Young Health said.

Many of the county's sites are walk-up or drive-through. This new site allows walks-up patients to stay warm indoors rather than wait in line outside.

MORE: CBS 6 finds some New Yorkers lying on screenings in order to get COVID-19 tests

There is plenty of room to spread out in the Times Union Center. They have socially distanced chairs to wait in, and different lines to enter and exit through.

The site will host testing on Monday and Friday, for now. Testing is by appointment only. Visit the county website for more information.

McNamara says as COVID cases rise, the demand for testing is surging too. "There has been a surge in demand, we're filling all of our slots well in advance of the day of testing at this point." he said.

MORE: Albany County sees record number of COVID hospitalizations

He says so far, Whitney Young has been able to meet the demand, but he's concerned if cases keep rising, they won't be able to keep up.

"It is always a concern, we can only perform the tests if we have the test kits to perform, one, and secondly how quickly can the reference laboratories return the results. If it takes days and days or weeks, that's a challenge, and people don't have actionable information." McNamara said.

Meanwhile, Albany County leaders continue urging people to get tested - especially after Thanksgiving. Dr. Elizabeth Whalen says that's the best way to slow the spread.

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"This is essential so that we don't see the cases continue to have exponential growth between now and Christmas." Dr. Whalen said. "December could be a very, very bad month for us if individuals don't heed this advice."

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