Free Covid-19 testing will be available for farmworkers in Orleans, 4 other counties

Posted 21 August 2020 at 8:08 am

Press Release, NYS Department of Markets

The New York State Departments of Agriculture and Markets, Health, and Labor are encouraging farmers to register for the Covid-19 testing initiative for seasonal workers, as announced by Governor Andrew Cuomo last week.

The state is making available free, on-farm Covid-19 testing to agricultural workers in Wayne, Orleans, Genesee, Ulster and Clinton Counties, which see the highest number of out-of-state workers during harvest season. The registration page is available by clicking here.

Farms who hire seasonal workers in these counties are being offered an opportunity to have workers tested. This initiative is voluntary, free and will be set up at sites selected by the farms who participate.

Farms who participate in these events must also ensure that they:

  • Have read, understood and comply with the State’s guidelines in the documents listed below.
  • Have a plan, including housing available to isolate workers if they are positive and quarantine workers who are identified as contacts to a case.
  • Have a plan to supplement their current workforce, if the need arises.
  • Pre-register using the link above.

An FAQ on the testing initiative is available in English here and in Spanish here. The flyer, which is being distributed in these counties, is available in English here and in Spanish here.

The prevention and testing initiative also includes partnering with the county health departments, local/community health care providers, county Cornell Cooperative Extensions and New York Farm Bureau to directly engage and educate farmers and farmworkers on the State’s prevention and quarantine protocols.

Farms will continue to partner with their local health departments to address the screening, isolation and quarantine status, and housing needs of their workers. Farmworkers are considered essential workers and may continue to work while under quarantine, provided the required conditions are followed.

From the start of the pandemic, New York State has issued guidance to assist the agricultural industry to remain operational and to provide worker protections. This includes Guidance for Prevention of and Response to Covid-19 on Farms, Prevention Tips for Farmworkers, and an Operator Checklist for Farms.

As New York began its phased reopening, New York State outlined mandatory protections for essential workers in its NY Forward guidance. In addition, the Department of Agriculture and Markets implemented, with assistance from county Cornell Cooperative Extensions, a robust statewide effort to ensure farms had access to personal protective equipment, such as masks and sanitizer.

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