EZaccessMD offers first mobile in-home COVID-19 testing

An EZaccessMD physician administers a COVID-19 test in-home. (provided)
An EZaccessMD physician administers a COVID-19 test in-home. (provided)

Rochester’s EZaccessMD will begin rapid mobile in-home COVID-19 testing, the first service of its kind.

EZaccessMD is the first and only mobile, employer-based subscription telehealth provider that brings rapid diagnostics to a patient’s home and now will offer free COVID-19 testing for subscribers. The service will bring the testing equipment and a qualified provider into the home with a two-hour response time and will provide results to the patient within 15 minutes.

EZaccessMD’s COVID-19 testing is a rapid antigen test made by Becton Dickinson, delivering an overall accuracy of 98 percent, officials said.

“This unique and convenient testing approach is an absolute game-changer because it allows patients to stay in the comfort of their homes and be treated quickly,” said EZaccessMD President Lois Irwin. “Rapid in-home testing for subscribers is faster and more convenient than any testing option currently available and helps reduce the overall exposure risk to the community.”

EZaccessMD in-home testing is available for subscribers experiencing COVID-19 symptoms or those who have had prolonged exposure to a COVID-positive individual.

Patients are connected to an EZaccessMD physician via a telemedicine phone consult to determine whether they need a test for COVID-19. A certified technician will arrive at their home within two hours and administer the test with results provided on-the-spot within 15 minutes.

If a patient tests positive for COVID-19, the EZaccessMD physician will determine the best treatment plan and order any necessary medications. Within 24-hours of testing, all test results will be reported to the appropriate state health authority. EZ Care Coordinators follow-up with patients three days after the in-home test to check on their progress and offer an immediate EZaccessMD physician consult if needed.

“Consumers everywhere are seeking home delivery services, so why not healthcare?” said EZaccessMD CEO Will Irwin. “We have removed the cost and travel barriers that traditional brick and mortar medicine necessitates and wholeheartedly believe this new approach will make a significant difference in the fight against this pandemic.”

EZaccessMD is available in multiple states in the Southeast and Northeast.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
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Schumer pushes for COVID testing funds for Orleans County

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is calling on the federal Department of Health and Human Services to release funds to enable local communities to offer free COVID-19 testing.

Schumer was in the Orleans County town of Medina on Thursday, where he joined officials from Medina Memorial Hospital to address the county’s lack of free COVID-19 test sites. Schumer (D-NY) demanded HHS release the testing dollars he reportedly helped to originally secure in prior COVID relief legislation, saying that Orleans County alone will need thousands of dollars to conduct sufficient rapid testing and tracing programs to keep residents safe from the virus. Schumer also announced his intention to fight for more of those funds for communities across Upstate New York as the possibility of a second wave emerges and as a COVID relief deal continues to be negotiated.

“With flu season upon us and a resurgence of COVID in New York, in order to keep everyone safe, we’re going to need rapid tests and we’re going to need them quickly,” Schumer said. “Right now, Orleans County residents have extremely limited access to COVID testing, and often they need to travel to Buffalo or Rochester to get tested, which is unacceptable, inaccessible and could wreak havoc on the health and safety of the community if COVID rates continue to climb. The feds are sitting on over $9 billion that can and should be long out the door, being used to ramp up 100 percent free testing in places like Orleans. Those dollars should immediately be used to get rapid tests to ensure peace of mind and some semblance of stability to Orleans residents who have already endured a tumultuous year.”

The process is especially discouraging for at-risk populations from rural areas like Orleans, Schumer said, where public transportation is limited and long-distance travel is difficult.

Schumer praised Medina Memorial Hospital and the Albion Clinic for offering COVID testing for Orleans County residents but he said funding for a standalone free testing site in Orleans County would dramatically increase access to testing and is critical to containing the virus throughout the winter. County officials project that they will need at least seven or eight rapid test machines and thousands of test kits at minimum, compared with the two machines and 700 rapid test kits they have now.

The need for funding and a robust testing regime is especially strong in Orleans County, Schumer said, where some students are attending school in person. Western and Central New York’s COVID-19 case numbers are rising to May levels, and New York state’s new COVID micro-cluster metrics, which identify areas of high COVID spread and labels them by red, orange or yellow that determine testing and lockdown protocols, have already prompted Orleans County officials to seek additional testing capacity, especially in schools, to meet the new requirements.

Earlier this month, all third-graders in the Lyndonville School District switched to remote learning after a school staff member contracted COVID, and several students testing positive at the Albion school prompted more than 50 families to switch their children from an in-person hybrid model to fully remote schooling. This week Medina High School said it would not resume in-school instruction until Nov. 30th due to the high number of staff members currently out due to mandatory quarantine and/or waiting for COVID test results.

Schumer and Orleans County officials said these reversals back to fully-remote learning as the virus resurges will disrupt student learning and are inevitable without sufficient testing, making it all the more important that HHS releases the funding for more testing immediately.

“There’s absolutely no question that the health and safety of all students across Upstate New York is paramount, bar none. The federal government cannot and must not repeat COVID mistakes of the past months. Instead, it must do everything in its power to keep students, families, and teachers safe, and use the dollars it has and the premise of robust testing and tracing to tamp down any second wave of this virus and lead us to a true recovery,” Schumer said.

Last Thursday, Orleans County reported 30 new COVID cases, which was its highest daily number of new infections since May when the county had 23 cases in one day. On Tuesday, the county confirmed 10 new cases for a total of 529 positive cases since March. The number of people in Finger Lakes region hospitals has roughly doubled since the end of October.

“Increasing COVID testing capacity is vital to keep our community safe and avoid other restrictive measures that can disrupt our businesses, in-school instruction, and families. I applaud Sen. Schumer’s efforts to free up existing federal testing funding now so that communities like Orleans County can have access to more testing,” said Lynne Johnson, chairman of the Orleans County Legislature.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer

New COVID-19 test developed in Rochester receives FDA approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday said it had granted Emergency Use Authorization to Ortho Clinical Diagnostics’ total antibody test for COVID-19. The test is one of the first high-throughput, automated COVID-19 antibody tests to be granted Emergency Use Authorization.

High-throughput instruments can output a large number of test results in a short period of time. When running infectious disease tests such as the COVID-19 tests, Ortho’s instruments can process up to 150 tests per hour.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact individuals, families and communities around the world,” said Chris Smith, Ortho Clinical Diagnostics CEO. “Ortho is proud to be working toward large-scale solutions that will help people return to work, reducing the strain on both employees and the economy as a whole. Our focus on improving patients’ lives through diagnostics led us to rapidly develop this test, providing one of the key resources needed for diagnosing and treating COVID-19. We remain committed to helping laboratories deliver fast, accurate, reliable results to healthcare professionals, patients and the researchers developing the long-term, sustainable management of this disease.”

A limited quantity of test kits already have been shipped to high priority areas. Ortho will be in full production in the coming weeks and plans to manufacture several million SARS-CoV-2 antibody tests over the next month, with rapid production expansion following thereafter.

The test was developed at Ortho’s Global Center of Excellence for R&D in Rochester and can be run on the company’s flagship laboratory analyzer, the VITROS T 7600 Integration System, the VITROS 3600 Immunodiagnostic System, the VITROS 5600 Integrated System and soon on the VITROS ECi/ECiQ Immunodiagnostic Systems, which are installed in more than 1,000 hospitals and labs in the U.S.

[email protected] / 585-653-4021
Follow Velvet Spicer on Twitter: @Velvet_Spicer