Features, Health and Safety, New York

Testing & Tracing In NYC

April 22, 2020

By Stephanie West

New York, NY — To contain and mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Mayor de Blasio has announced a comprehensive “Test and Trace” strategy to reduce COVID-19 infections citywide.

“To defeat this virus, we need to test and trace every last case,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “That’s why we are drastically expanding our testing capacity and exercising every last option to get the quantity of testing we need.”

To test as many people as possible, the City is setting up sites in communities across the five boroughs to collect specimens and test them for COVID-19. These sites will operate outside of traditional clinic and hospital settings to minimize the burden on the healthcare system.

In addition to the five walk-in community testing sites already set up through a partnership with NYC Health+ Hospitals, three additional Health+ Hospital sites in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn, the Mott Haven neighborhood in the Bronx, and the Lower East Side of Manhattan are planned. NYC is increasing access to free testing for NYCHA residents by opening sites at or near NYCHA developments. Sites will be run by NYC Health + Hospitals, and will offer free walk-in COVID-19 testing. NYCHA residents will be prioritized for testing at these locations. New locations include Cumberland Health Center, Belvis Health Center, Gouvernor Health Center, Jonathan Williams Houses, Woodside Houses and St. Nicholas Houses.

Five community testing sites from NYC Health + Hospitals are now operating in communities hardest hit by the pandemic. NYC Health + Hospitals/ Gotham Health East New York, Morrisania, Vanderbilt, as well as NYC Health + Hospitals/ Queens and NYC Health + Hospitals/ Sydenham in Manhattan are offering walk-in testing six days a week for those most vulnerable to COVID-19 related illness.

The City has also partnered with One Medical, a national digital health and primary care provider, to offer COVID-19 testing and virtual care services to frontline 1199SEIU members, including adult care employees or those who work with people with disabilities, as well as other non-member healthcare professionals, essential workers, and NYC residents who are 65 and older with preexisting conditions.

To trace those who test positive for COVID-19, the City will work with each person who has COVID-19 to connect them immediately to care and help them safely isolate at home, a hotel, or a hospital. The City will also ensure their close contacts are rapidly traced, assessed, and quarantined at home or a hotel, as necessary. Additional contact tracers will be hired or contracted to substantially expand the City’s existing pool of 200 disease detectives and contact tracers. When possible the City will perform remote medical checks on those in isolation and quarantine and evaluate individuals with symptoms to determine whether they should be tested or not.

April 22, 2020

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