Local governments are happy to get 400,000 coronavirus test kits. They just need the resources, however, to actually get the testing done in schools.
"We as the front line need to understand what is the state's expectation, what is the staff responsibilities, how we're going to roll this out effectively with thousands upon thousands of school buildings across the state of New York," said Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro.
The priority for testing in large part is for schools as some districts have had to close buildings amid positive COVID-19 cases and turn to several weeks of remote learning to stamp out possible transmission. The tests will be for schools in so-called "yellow zones," considered buffer areas where COVID-19 cases have risen, but not to the point where schools must be closed.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo in a conference call on Thursday said officials will have resources, all they have to do is ask.
"I said if you need something tell me and I will provide it for you," he said.
At the same time, clusters of cases in parts of Orange, Rockland and Broome counties, as well as Brooklyn and Queens, have cropped up in recent weeks.
"We really need staff, contract nurses, train staff, who know how to administer the tests, interpret the results and then provide follow up care or recommend access to follow up care for anybody that's being tested," said Sarah Ravenhall, the executive director of the New York State Association of County Health Officials.
And this is a problem for all counties, regardless of their size, she said.
"It doesn't matter whether it is a small, medium or large county," Ravenhall said. "There is a need there. Right now local health departments just don't have the staff to do the testing. There may be more tests required in a large county, but bottom line is there is a need for staff to conduct the tests."