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COVID-19 testing now open to anyone with symptoms

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New York has ramped up coronavirus diagnostic testing so much that testing sites, including drive-thru ones like the site at Lehman College, now have more tests available than people seeking it.

Because of that, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has opened up testing for just about anyone who is showing any COVID-19 symptoms, or meets one of the other criteria that's part of the state's phased reopening plan.

"We have 700 testing sites across the state, which means there is a testing site near you," Cuomo said during his daily coronavirus briefing on Sunday. "What's the new problem? The new problem is that we have more sties and more testing capacity than what we're using."

For example, the drive-thru testing sites can test up to 15,000 people per day, Cuomo said. However, right now, they are at just 5,000 per day.  Still, New York is testing more people per capita than any other country, and is more than double the rate of the United States as a whole, as well as several states, including Washington, California, Georgia, Florida and Kentucky.

"This is a very big advantage for us because testing originally was used to control the virus," Cuomo said. "Now testing is going to be very helpful in monitoring the virus. We are all talking about what is the spread of the virus when you increase economic activity."

The answer to that, Cuomo said, is "testing, testing, testing."

Among the 700 sites were diagnostic testing will be available are some 60 locations owned or operated by the CVS drug store chain. Other locations are available by searching here, and include: 

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• CityMD's Riverdale Urgent Care, 193 W. 237th St. — Call for appointment first at (718) 303-0479.

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• Lehman College, 2925 Goulden Ave. — Call for appointment first for drive-thru testing at (888) 364-3065.

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• NewYork Presbyterian-Allen Hospital, 5141 Broadway — call first for appointment (but must be physician approved) at (877) 426-5647.

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Other locations are located nearby in Yonkers — including St. Joseph's Medical Center at 127 S. Broadway — and Norwood, at North Central Bronx Hospital at 3424 Kossuth Ave.

"There is no pain to this test," Cuomo said. "There is nothing about this test that should intimidate people from taking this test. It is fast. And it is easy. So fast and so easy, that even the governor can take the test."

Cuomo demonstrated that at his Sunday briefing by doing a swab diagnostic test in front of reporters — a process that took less than a minute.

"That is the whole test," Cuomo said afterward. "I am not in pain. I'm not in discomfort. Closing my eyes was a moment of relaxation. There is no reason why you should not get the test."

Under the new diagnostic testing guidelines, eligibility has been expanded to:

  • Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms
  • Anyone who has had contact with someone known to be positive for the COVID-19 virus
  • Anyone subject to a precautionary or mandatory quarantine
  • Any health care or nursing home worker, and any first responder
  • Any essential worker who directly interacts with the public while working
  • Anyone planning to return to work during the first phase of the state's reopening plan, which continues for nearly all of upstate this week.

"The more tests the better, for the state, and the better for society," Cuomo said. "The better for your family, and the better for you."

Cuomo said he expected to get his results from the test overnight, adding he won't have to announce the results in advance.

"If I'm not here tomorrow, it means I've tested positive," Cuomo said. "Otherwise, I'll see you here tomorrow."

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