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Cuomo announces expansion of diagnostic testing criteria to include all first responders, health care workers, essential employees

Press Release

Sun, Apr 26th 2020 11:55 am

Issues executive order allowing pharmacists to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19

State is conducting antibody testing for frontline health care workers at 4 New York City hospitals and health care systems

Amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Saturday announced the state is expanding diagnostic testing criteria to include more frontline New York workers – a direct result of rapidly increasing diagnostic testing capacity. The expanded criteria will now allow all first responders, health care workers and essential employees to be tested for COVID-19 even if they aren't symptomatic. The state will continue to expand testing criteria as testing capacity increases.

Cuomo also announced an executive order allowing pharmacists to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19. This action will unlock a network of over 5,000 pharmacies as COVID-19 testing locations and help the state build a collection network to meet laboratory capacity and increase overall testing capacity.

The governor said the state is continuing to conduct antibody testing for frontline health care workers, including at four hospitals and health care systems in New York City: Bellevue Hospital, Elmhurst Hospital Center, Montefiore Medical Center and SUNY Downstate Medical Center, which is currently being used only for COVID-19 patients. Additionally, the state will begin conducting antibody testing for first responders and transit workers, including MTA employees and transit workers, New York State Police and the New York City Police Department.

"We know that testing is a key component of reopening the economy and getting to a new normal, and New York state is already doing more tests per capita than any state or country," Cuomo said. "We've been working with the federal government to increase the capacity of labs that process these diagnostic tests, and now we need more collection sites so we continue to ramp up our testing across the state. I am issuing an executive order allowing our state's 5,000 pharmacies to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19, which will greatly increase our testing capacity and allow us to expand eligibility for these tests to the frontline workers and essential employees who have been going to work and interacting with the public throughout this crisis."

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