Health

New York Gov. Cuomo Promotes COVID-19 Testing By Getting Tested On TV

Cuomo said he wanted to demonstrate how "fast and easy" getting tested is.

YouTube/ NBC News

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo got tested for the coronavirus live on television. 

During his Sunday briefing, Cuomo received the nasal swab from a health care professional, who was in full protective gear, in order to demonstrate how “fast and easy” getting tested is. During his daily briefing on Monday, he announced that he had tested negative for the virus

Before receiving the live test, Cuomo said that all symptomatic New Yorkers are able to get tested for the virus. He said health care workers, essential workers who directly interact with the public, and anyone returning to work under the state’s first phase of reopening are also eligible for tests.

New York, the U.S. epicenter of the virus, has experienced higher case numbers than any other state, with over 193,000 confirmed cases including more than 15,000 deaths as of Monday. 

Since the outbreak escalated in March, the state has struggled to provide adequate testing to those who are experiencing symptoms. Officials have even encouraged people with mild or no symptoms to stay at home rather than venturing outside to seek testing. 

On Sunday, Cuomo said that the state has more than 700 testing sites, which exceeds the number of sites needed to accommodate the number of New Yorkers currently getting tested. Some of the sites have the daily capacity to conduct 15,000 tests, he said, but are only testing around 5,000 per day.

New York State Health Commissioner Howard Zucker during the briefing echoed Cuomo’s claims, saying that the state now has excess testing capacity of about 80,000 tests per day with the inclusion of private lab tests. Cuomo said the state has met its daily target of conducting 40,000 COVID-19 diagnostic tests.

As nearly all U.S. states have started relaxing restrictions put in place to slow the spread of the virus, health officials have repeatedly warned that testing must be increased in order to properly identify how many people in an area are infected. According to CDC guidelines, hospitalized patients with symptoms, health care workers, first responders with symptoms, and symptomatic residents in group living settings like prisons and shelters should have the highest priority for testing.

During the Sunday briefing Cuomo encouraged New Yorkers to use a new site to determine if they should get tested and where the closest facility is.