Increased Testing Shows Surge in NYC’s COVID-19 Infections

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks during a news conference for the outbreak of Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at City Hall in the Manhattan borough of New York
Mayor Bill de Blasio at City Hall offers an update on the coronavirus pandemic in New York.
Reuters/ Jeenah Moon

The city’s public hospital system now has more appointment-only COVID-19 testing centers with additional ones on the way within days, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Thursday.

“If we’re going to curb this epidemic, we need fast and expansive testing for those most at risk for serious illness,” said de Blasio in a statement Thursday. “Now we can get more New Yorkers the care they need at the right time — helping save lives, one test at a time.”

So far, 3,615 people have tested positive for COVID-19 in New York City and 22 people have died as a result of complications from the virus.

Of those cases, 1,030 are in Brooklyn, 980 are in Queens, 976 in Manhattan, 436 in the Bronx, and 165 in Staten Island, according to the mayor’s office.

As of 5 p.m. on March 18, 554 coronavirus patients were hospitalized in the city; 169 of them were in intensive care units.

By increasing testing capacity, the city hopes to deter New Yorkers from seeking out tests in hospital emergency departments and allow for those with moderate to severe symptoms to have access to confirming a diagnosis.

New Yorkers with mild symptoms and younger than 50 with no underlying health conditions should stay home, practice social distancing, and talk to their doctor if they do not get better in three to four days, officials said.

The expanded appointment-only COVID-19 testing capacity is across 10 acute-care hospitals, seven Gotham Health community-based health centers, and four drive-thru test sites.

Out of the 10 acute care assessment and testing centers in the NYC Health + Hospitals system, eight are ready to see patients by appointment. Those centers are: Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan, Elmhurst Hospital, Harlem Hospital, Metropolitan Hospital Center in East Harlem, Kings County Hospital Center, Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx, Woodhull Hospital in Brooklyn, and Queens Hospital. The new testing centers will be in tents outside of the hospitals, similar to those during H1N1 outbreak in 2009.

New test centers at Coney Island Hospital and Jacobi Medical Center will be ready to see people early next week, the mayor’s office said in a statement.

Jacobi Medical Center currently has a COVID-19 drive-thru testing site. On Friday, a drive-thru testing site will open at Coney Island Hospital. King County Hospital’s first drive thru testing site and a second drive thru testing site at Jacobi Medical Center will open next week, according to the mayor’s office.