Broome County’s Health Department is being recognized for its creativity in dealing with the early days of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Department has been given the 2021 Gold Innovative Practice Award by the National Association of County and City Health Officials for converting a former B.C. Transit bus into a coronavirus testing lab.

Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News
Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News

As the pandemic began to spread in the Southern Tier in March of last year, county emergency, health and government officials determined a key to getting control of the crisis was through early identification of clusters and to address those outbreaks with follow-up quarantines and case tracking. In order to do that, more testing was going to be needed in specific geographic areas. County officials came up with the idea of converting a public transit bus into a mobile lab where on-site COVID tests could be rapidly processed, moving on in a few days to other areas where residents may not have rapid testing readily available.

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The bus, overseen and staffed though a partnership of community stakeholders and personnel from several county departments provided 6,174 tests.

The award comes along with a $7,000 in-kind contribution of public health services. The Broome Health Department also receives a complementary registration to NACCHO’s annual conference.

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