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Free COVID testing offered at SUNY colleges during winter break

Gov. Kathy Hochul gives a briefing in Rochester on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in this screenshot.
Kathy Hochul
Gov. Kathy Hochul gives a briefing in Rochester on Monday, Jan. 3, 2022, in this screenshot.

Starting Tuesday, the University at Buffalo, Buffalo State College and several other SUNY and private college campuses will offer free COVID-19 testing in various communities across the state while students are on their winter break.

Gov. Kathy Hochul made that announcement during a stop in Rochester Monday, when she gave an update on the state’s efforts to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hochul said the idea came from the Chancellor of Syracuse University.

"Approaching us and saying, 'We have a plan. We've tested 4,000 students a day on our campus. Those students are not here. They're not coming back for a little while. Do you want to use our facilities?' And the answer was 'Heck yes.' Of course we did," Hochul said. "I thought, we've got one campus here? What about every other SUNY campus?"

Hochul reported more than 51,000 New Yorkers tested positive for COVID-19 in the latest daily numbers, including 2,624 in Western New York. That figure was less than the spikes seen in recent days, but Hochul believes the Monday numbers were skewed by the holiday period.

She said hospitalizations also continue to rise, "a trend that is, again, troubling," but it appears the overall severity of illness from COVID seems to be less than it was before.

Watch Hochul's COVID-19 update here:

Randy Gorbman is WXXI's Director of News and Public Affairs. Randy manages the day-to-day operations of WXXI News on radio, television, and online.