Julio Peña took a COVID test two weeks ago at the Brooklyn Army Terminal, a Health + Hospitals site.
“They said that the results were going to come back in six days, but it’s been well over six days," Peña said. "And I think we’re going on 14 — this is the 14th day that I haven’t gotten my results.”
Peña was preparing to travel and wanted to ensure he was COVID-negative.
His lengthy wait is indicative of others’ experiences citywide.
As New York works to stave off a Coronavirus resurgence and as infection rates soar elsewhere in the country, viral test results are often taking longer than a week.
“Remember the diagnostic test gives you a point in time," Mayor de Blasio said at a news conference Tuesday. "And you could have a very different reality even a few days later in any situation, but what’s important is to get the test back to people quickly. Again, first thing I’d say to folks: Go to Health + Hospitals because they’ve been able to make those times a lot quickly than some of those private entities.”
City sites do often have faster turnaround times than private ones.
De Blasio's senior adviser for public health, Dr. Jay Varma, said delays at Health + Hospitals locations may be due to the city partnering with private labs.
Varma said he expected wait times to improve as more labs open.
Daily indicators show the city's rate of positive tests hovers at 2 percent.
New Yorkers like Peña are doing their part in getting tested and vigorously following up — even if it's to no avail.
“If we’re telling people to get tested and not actually getting people their results in a timely fashion, then it’s kind of defeating the purpose," Peña said.
De Blasio said last week that the average wait for test results citywide was down to three days.
But NY1 has learned of delays of nine days, 11 days and longer — periods where the test-takers could have conceivably be spreading the Coronavirus.
The mayor said Tuesday that federal action would make the difference.
“The president needs to invoke the Defense Production Act, needs to have a nationwide effort to expand lab capacity with federal support, federal direction including producing the chemical reagents needed for the testing," de Blasio said. "Unless there’s federal intervention, I fear this will be an ongoing problem.”