NEW YORK - Marking a new stage in the fight against COVID-19, city officials are now recommending that all New Yorkers get tested for the virus, not just those with symptoms or risk factors.
It’s the first time since the outbreak began that testing will not be based on priority.
In an advisory issued to health care providers across the city Tuesday, city health officials wrote, "New Yorkers seeking medical care for any reason should be offered COVID-19 diagnostic testing."
The move coincides with the start of the city’s Test & Trace program.
On Monday, 1,700 new contact tracers began the work of tracking down those who’ve recently tested positive, as well as those they’ve been in close contact with, and encouraging them to self-isolate. The city can provide assistance with basic necessities like food and laundry, and even provide a hotel room if necessary.
Dr. Ted Long, executive director of the Test & Trace Corps, said the team successfully reached out to every new positive case on Monday, the first day of the program. He also addressed concerns that protesters might be spreading new infections.
“We’re extending an invitation for all New Yorkers that have been out there in the protests to come into any of our more than 150 sites where we’re doing testing,” Dr. Long said. "Free of charge."
As of late last week, Mayor de Blasio said 27,000 tests a day were being performed citywide, with an aim of 50,000 tests daily by August.
Testing sites can be found at nyc.gov/CovidTest or by calling 311.