Mayor James Patrick Smith announces expanded distribution of COVID-19 rapid test kits


Mayor James Patrick Smith announced today that the City of Rochester is expanding its efforts to distribute COVID-19 rapid home tests with the goal of increasing residents’ access to testing as the holidays approach. Starting tomorrow, Thursday, December 16, staff at the City Neighborhood Service Center (NSC) will begin distributing more than 23,000 free home test kits to approximately 240 places of worship and 250 barbers and hair salons located in the city ​​of Rochester. Each place of worship will receive 100 test kits and each barbershop or salon will receive 25 test kits. While distribution will begin tomorrow, it will likely be early next week when all locations receive their kits. Places of worship, beauty salons and barbershops will then provide the test kits to their members and clients upon request.

“As the holidays approach, this expanded distribution plan will ensure that we test as many people as possible,” said Mayor Smith. “I am grateful to our faith community and our small business owners for helping us meet our residents where they are to expand access to COVID testing. It is this type of partnership that is essential for Rochester to overcome this new wave of the pandemic. I would also like to thank Vice President of City Council Willie Lightfoot for his suggestion to involve hair salons and beauty salons in this important effort.

Vice President of City Council Willie Lightfoot was instrumental in this expanded cast to include participation from beauty salons and hair salons.

“It’s wonderful that the city is making every effort to ensure that people can self-test for COVID before spending time with their families this Christmas season,” said Vice President Lightfoot. “I want to congratulate Mayor Smith and all who have come together in partnership to make this expanded distribution possible. I really hope everyone is doing what it takes to protect themselves from the pandemic during this special time of year. “

In addition to the expanded distribution effort, Rochester is hosting two larger central distribution efforts this weekend. The kits will be available from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the following sites:

  • Saturday December 18: Trenton and Pamela Jackson R-Center, 485 N. Clinton Ave.
  • Sun. December 19: Edgerton R-Center, 41 Backus Street.

Please note that test kits are NOT available for pickup from City NSC offices. They will only be available as described above.

In addition to providing the public with quick and free test kits, the city, along with its partners in the county and the medical community, continue to offer vaccines and boosters at several locations around the city. Current information on testing and vaccination sites can be found at For future sites where kits could be made available and to learn more about community resources for food, shelter, mental health, and other COVID-related needs, visit

“I hope everyone takes the opportunity to test out before getting together with family and friends,” said Mayor Smith. “We need to make sure we all enjoy vacations safely and without fear of contracting or spreading COVID. Let’s each do our part by getting vaccinated or boosted, testing before attending gatherings and masking ourselves in indoor public spaces. I know that together we will make this holiday season a safe and joyful one. “


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