Covid-19 rapid-result testing will be made available in every county in the state, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Friday.
The New York State Department of Health will send 400,000 rapid result test kits to local health departments, hospitals, pharmacies, and other health care providers to increase access to the tests that can be done within 15 minutes and without having to send a specimen to a lab.
Areas where a recent uptick in cases has occurred will get priority for the tests. They can be used to control new outbreaks, conduct surveillance testing, and will also be made available on a as needed basis to help schools in ‘yellow zones’ test students and staff as part of new requirements to monitor COVID-19 spread as part of the Governor’s .
“From day one, testing has been one of the most vital tools we have to accurately assess COVID-19’s spread in New York. Today New York State is building on our nation-leading testing program to expand rapid testing to every corner of the state, to give health care providers and localities the tools they need offer free rapid testing to their residents and patients,” Governor Cuomo said. “These rapid test kits will allow health care institutions throughout the state to quickly and accurately determine COVID-19’s spread, control outbreaks and keep families and communities safe. Further, the state is taking precautionary steps to ensure localities are providing rapid testing for schools that are nearby communities that have seen recent upticks in cases and are offering in-person instruction. We will provide rapid test kits, as needed, free of charge to all localities to help them meet this new requirement, giving parents, teachers, and students confidence in the safety of their educational experiences.”
On Tuesday, as part of the state’s Cluster Action Initiative, the Governor announced that schools open to in-person instruction in “Yellow Zones” would be required to test a portion of their in-person students, staff, and teachers at least once a week. The DOH said Friday that it would require 20% of students, teachers, and staff who are in-person in schools located within “Yellow Zones” to be tested once a week starting next Friday, October 16. All results must be reported promptly to DOH and will be made available on the COVID Report Card dashboard.