BUFFALO, N.Y. — Farmers who hire seasonal workers are being given the opportunity to have those workers tested for COVID-19 for free.
The state is making the on-farm testing available in Wayne, Orleans, Genesee, Ulster and Clinton counties, which it says employs the greatest number of out-of-state-workers during harvest season.
“The health and safety of our essential workers in agriculture and keeping our food supply chain moving have been the Department’s priority since the COVID-19 pandemic began," State Agricultural Commissioner Richard Ball said.
"New York State is committed to continuing to help our farms take the necessary precautions to prevent and respond to COVID-19. Providing education and bringing testing directly to our communities will ensure we are reaching the seasonal workers on our farms for this upcoming harvest.”
The initiative is voluntary, but farms must register to participate.
Farms who do take part must also:
- 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.
Commissioner of the New York State Department of Health Dr. Howard Zucker said, “As we have seen an increase in clusters associated with farms that employ seasonal workers who have traveled from out of state, this testing initiative will help us isolate any individuals who test positive and prevent the virus from spreading.
"Thanks to every New Yorker’s participation, we have been able to flatten the curve of infection, but it will take a continued effort, including statewide testing and contact tracing, to maintain our success.”