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COVID On Long Island: Oyster Bay Offers Saliva-Based COVID Testing As Town Continues On Road To Reopening

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- One town on Long Island is ramping up its COVID testing in an attempt to give the community some normalcy.

Nineteen-year-old Samantha Deturris, her brother and parents were some of the first to take advantage of Oyster Bay's new saliva-based COVID-19 testing program at the local community center.

"Just to be safe, to make sure that we aren't positive for COVID," Deturris told CBS2's Jessica Layton.

It isn't your typical family activity, but these aren't typical times.

"I think it'll definitely motivate people to come get tested since it's probably less than a minute to do and painless," Deturris said.

That's certainly the goal as the town continues on its road to safe reopening.


"When so many schools are trying to plan a safe way to have the prom, to continue the sports season, to hold graduation," Oyster Bay Town Supervisor Joe Saladino said.

Saladino says helping people know their status in 24 hours with a test that's less invasive than a nasal swab is a game changer.

"The idea is to get the whole township up and running. It's to get all the schools back open again. It's to get people feeling safe and comfortable in their town," said Ted Karkus, CEO of Prophase Labs.

"All of the pieces are important, whether it's mask wearing, social distancing," Saladino said.

And, of course, vaccination. But federal health officials are concerned too many people are still reluctant and we may not reach herd immunity.

In several states, supply is even outpacing demand. A number of mass vaccination sites in Texas are closing, and more than half of the counties in Kansas have turned down vaccine shipments because they'll go unused.


New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio continues to urge New Yorkers to roll up their sleeves.

"The good news is more and more outreach efforts, making it easier and easier, more and more places where you just walk up," he said.

Those walk-up sites are about to include the New York state-run mass vaccination centers. No appointment is needed for people 60 years and older starting Friday.

CBS2's Jessica Layton contributed to this report.

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