Thousands of Cheektowaga residents line up to get free at home covid tests


CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) – Thousands of Cheektowaga residents lined up outside the Cheektowaga Town Park Monday to receive a free at home Covid-19 test. Nearly 3 thousand rapid COVID 19 test kits from were given out to residents.

“Everybody is thankful for the free kits,” said Brian Gould, Cheektowaga police chief. “We’re doing our best with traffic.”

The Cheektowaga covid home test giveaway was one of several to take place throughout Erie County and in areas of Niagara County in response to the omicron variant. Local health experts say, because the virus is so widespread, it’s important to make sure you’re reading the test results correctly.

“If you have respiratory tract symptoms, there’s so much infection in our community that a negative test does not eliminate the possibility that you have covid,” said Dr. Thomas Russo, infectious disease expert University at Buffalo. “These home tests are great, a positive test is meaningful, but a negative test, because it has lower sensitivity than PCR, does not exclude that possibility. In that case, it’s best to repeat the test the next day, or you can arrange to have a PCR test don,e which is more sensitive than the home testing if there’s any question in your mind.”

Also, pay attention to the indication lines.

“Most tests have two lines. The first line is the control line, and that line always needs to show up. If that line doesn’t show up, you have not done the test properly and it needs to be repeated or have a test done at a testing center to be sure,” Russo said. “The other line, in most tests is below the control line, if that shows up, that’s positive for covid. Whether that line is strong, whether that line is faint. If you see anything at all, that’s considered a positive tests and you should assume you have covid.”

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