New York has launched a rapid COVID-19 testing program to help event spaces and businesses reopen across the state.
The New York Forward Rapid Test Program will make low-cost, rapid tests available to the public to “support increased economic activity while the state continues to open economic sectors,” state officials said.
“During the COVID pandemic, we relied on the science of emotions and political rhetoric in our decisions, and used every available tool to address the public health and economic challenges in New York,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo.
“I have said from the start that testing will be an essential part of our post-pandemic recovery as it will help us accelerate the reopening of our economy – without undoing the extraordinary strides we have made in fighting the virus close.”
As of Friday, February 19, 11 first locations were opened in New York City, at which more than 5,000 tests can be carried out daily. Additional locations are expected to open in other parts of the state in the coming weeks.
“Not only has COVID-19 disrupted people’s daily lives tremendously, it has also disrupted the state’s economy and the livelihoods of New Yorkers,” added Eric Gertler, acting commissioner and president-elect and CEO of Empire State Development.
Rapid tests are made available over the network for no more than $ 30 each. The results of the tests are released within 30 minutes to allow staff to plan ahead and report the results to the state for potential contact tracing.
According to Cuomo, the New York Forward Rapid Test Program aims to dramatically expand access to rapid tests so that business and entertainment centers can reopen more safely, and provide an extra layer of protection and confidence when New Yorkers resume business.
“With test sites across the city, the New York Forward Rapid Test Program will help us make sure we are driving economic activity while minimizing risks to people’s health,” he said.
The state is currently working to identify locations in commercial centers that can be donated to the test network. Donated locations must be in a commercial corridor, have at least 750 square feet of open space, and be immediately available for at least six months, street-level access, a toilet, and comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act.
The first test centers are operated by:
- BioReference Laboratories at select CVS pharmacy locations and other locations;
- Clarity MedHealth, which operates mobile test sites. Additional mobile test sites will be added in the coming weeks that can be relocated across the state as needed to support economic activity.
- Quest Diagnostics will be opening additional locations in New York City and other regions of the state in the coming weeks, as well as options for confirmatory molecular diagnostic COVID-19 testing.
“A negative test result does not rule out the possibility of infection or means that a person is not at risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19,” officials said. “However, the initiative’s screening and testing, along with the use of face-covering, social distancing, and other protocols, is another tool that can put New York State companies on track to reopen more safely at higher capacities.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice’s free daily email and message notifications.