The federal government is opening a new COVID-19 testing facility in New York City before the end of the week, President Joe Biden announced Tuesday.
The announcement did not give details for exactly when the site would open, its location or its testing capacity. The site is the first in a series of new testing facilities to be opened by the federal government around the country.
The new site is meant to reduce hours-long wait times for tests around the city as the omicron variant spurs record jumps in new infections and as many residents plan to travel for the Christmas weekend.
On Tuesday morning, Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city would receive multiple new testing locations run by the federal government, but the White House has not released any information on the timeline for the opening of multiple sites.
The city recently increased its total testing location to 112 permanent and mobile sites.
The new federal sites, which could open in facilities equipped to test thousands of people a day, such as the Javits Center, come as residents have come to rely on local testing locations in sidewalk tents and urgent care centers.
De Blasio said it would not be too late to open the federal government site, despite it not being in place several days before the Christmas travel period.
“It’s not just about Christmas, it's about these next few weeks,” he said at a Tuesday news conference. “Given the high demand for testing, unprecedented because of omicron, more sites are better."