The Erie County Health Department offers Covid-19 testing and lists testing sites on their website. The testing is free at the health department and they are currently testing people who show symptoms of Covid-19 or have direct contact with a confirmed case of Covid-19.
Local health experts say commercial tests, like tests from pharmacies, or testing labs, range in prices and depends on insurance. It can cost anywhere from zero to $200.
Local pharmacies like Tile Pharmacy in Cheektowaga offer testing for free, because of a federal program.
“We’ve done a lot more testing, we’re pretty much booking every single day. Lots of people calling, people who need it for travel or for work,” said Katie Rutowski, Pharmacist Tile Pharmacy.
If you’re heading to a testing site to get tested, so that you can join your family for the holidays local doctors say that’s a bad idea.
“I think the important thing to remember about testing, is that people ought not to use that as a passport for giving them a license to go ahead and do their Thanksgiving, or other celebrations or family get-togethers,” said Dr. Steven Lana, Delaware Pediatrics. “Because the test is only reflective of that time. And, if a test is done too soon, for example, if there hasn’t been at least two days since the last known positive exposure, then the incubation period hasn’t run its course yet.”
Local doctors also warn that if you resume your daily activities, while you’re waiting for your covid test results, then you can further spread the virus in the community.
“If you’re symptomatic, with symptoms suggesting that you have covid, and you’ve been tested, and our system has been strained with the rising number of cases, so sometimes it takes days to get the results back, you should quarantine while awaiting the results of the test,” said Dr. Thomas A. Russo infectious disease specialist Department of Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences at the University at Buffalo. “We’re trying to get this under control, we’re trying to get our numbers down, so we can try to get out of the orange zone.”