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rheonix covid testing

A resolution brought forward by Legislator Shawna Black (D-Ithaca) and seconded by Deborah Dawson (D-Lansing) Tuesday to approve the purchase of equipment to run tests for COVID-19 locally at Cayuga Medical Center passed unanimously (14-0). Tompkins County officials expect the purchase to be reimbursable by FEMA disaster relief aid.

Dr. Martin Stallone, CEO of Cayuga Health System joined the meeting to answer questions. Dr. Stallone shared that with the procurement of additional machines, Cayuga Health System will be able to increase the daily capacity to thousands of COVID-19 tests. This purchase is part of a larger vision to support the eventual widescale community reopening and will allow Cayuga Health System to accurately and rapidly detect prevalence of the disease in Tompkins County.

Legislator Black thanked Cayuga Health System, adding that they have "done an amazing job with testing in our County." She shared that she receives "daily feedback on the process, friendly staff and how easy it is to get the test. The only way to continue flattening the curve is to increase accessibility to testing."

The new equipment will allow for the pooling of samples to increase daily testing numbers – a method possible because of the low prevalence of COVID-19 in Tompkins County. Cayuga Health System has committed to sharing techniques with other regional partners who also have Rheonix equipment. Rheonix Inc., is an Ithaca-based company offering equipment for rapid, sensitive and specific molecular testing across a variety of markets.

Regarding the purchase Legislator Anne Koreman (D-Ulysses) shared, "This is a small thing we can do compared to all the great things Cayuga Health has done for our community." Legislature Chairwoman Leslyn McBean-Clairborne (D-Ithaca) added, "Tompkins County is safer because of our government and health system working together."

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