New York state is already doing more tests than anyone because we did get into this first, we were aggressive, we were pushing the line. As we're increasing the capacity of the labs, our 300 labs are getting more equipment, more supplies, they can do more tests. Now we need more collection mechanisms, more places to collect the test data so they can send it to the labs. It goes: collection, then send those samples to the labs, the labs run those samples, get the results back to the people.
Where do you get collection sites? We're going to authorize all the independent pharmacists in this state to be collection sites for testing. There are 5,000 pharmacies in New York state. Some of them have already been doing it, some of the larger national chains, but if your local drug store can now become a collection site, people could go to their local drug store.
And since we now have more collection sites, more testing capacity, we can open up the eligibility for those tests. First responders, healthcare workers, and essential employees. Why? Because these people have been carrying the load and they have been subjected to the public all during this crisis. They're public facing, right? These are the people who you interact with.
What are the first responders? Firefighters, paramedics, EMT, police officers, police officers, state, local, county, sheriffs, et cetera. Also correction, parole officers, probation officers. People who are in the prisons. Healthcare workers, broad definition, direct care providers, healthcare practitioners, medical specialists, occupational therapists, psychologists, psychiatrists, residential care program managers. So if you're working in a residential facility, mental health facility, et cetera, community group residents, you're now able to get a test. And "essential workers". Essential workers are the people who've been keeping everything running. You get on a bus, this is the bus driver. You get in a subway car, this is the subway conductor. You still go to the store and buy groceries. Your lights are still on, right? Someone is picking up the garbage in front of your house. When you go in to the dry cleaner, this is the person on the other side of the counter who's interacting with dozens of people a day. These are the people who you're interacting with. If they're infected, they could possibly spread it to a large number of people.So we want to make sure those people get tested.
Hopefully one day we get to the point where anybody who wants a test can walk in and get a test. Right? And that was the dream. But we found out quickly that we couldn't do that. You have 19 million people in the state. So we had to prioritize. We're still prioritizing, but we're opening up that prioritization. The more capacity, the more tests, the more we'll open the eligibility criteria.
Back to COVID-19: NYC Resources
This page © 2020 Barry Drogin