Self-swab testing to be rolled out at public hospitals in New York City

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

New self-swab testing will become available in eight public hospitals throughout the city beginning this week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Monday. 

“This is something that we are going to start using now aggressively,” said de Blasio during his daily coronavirus press conference at City Hall. “It’ll improve the situation for everyone.”

The self-swab tests will increase the number of New Yorkers tested for the novel coronavirus from 15 to 20 people an hour, and will prioritize at-risk patients, de Blasio said.

To administer the test, healthcare workers will show patients to private rooms and ask them to spit into a cup and insert a small sterile Q-tip slightly up the nose. Both samples would then be passed to a healthcare profession for testing. 

The new procedure will allow healthcare workers to maintain a safe distance from patients, lessening the chances that they contract the virus, de Blasio said.

“Defeating this virus begins and ends with our ability to test quickly and safely,” he said. “We are working to ensure that every New Yorker who needs a test will get one with speed and efficiency, beginning with those who are most vulnerable and at risk for serious illness.”

The city will administer the self-swab tests at its two Brooklyn testing sites in Fort Greene and East New York. Testing will also be available at the city’s six other testing sites located in Staten Island, Manhattan, Queens, and the Bronx. 

In addition to the new testing, the city will hire 1,000 contact tracers in May to help trace and isolate New Yorkers that have contracted COVID-19, de Blasio said. 

Any New Yorker with a background in health and interested in applying can visit fphnyc.org

This story first appeared on AMNY.com.