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NY testing expands to Phase 1 workers

Gov. Andrew Cuomo gets tested for COVID-19 at his daily coronavirus press briefing in Albany on Sunday. (Provided photo — Darren McGee/Office of Gov. Cuomo)

New York has more than 700 testing sites where all individuals who will return to the workplace under the state’s Phase 1 reopening plan can get tested for the virus.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Sunday that the state has doubled testing capacity to reach 40,000 diagnostic tests per day. Cuomo said the state now has 1,889 has additional coronavirus cases, bringing the statewide total to 350,121.

The state’s diagnostic testing criteria now includes Phase 1 workers; any individual who has COVID-19 symptoms; any individual who has had contact with a person known to be positive with COVID-19; any individual who is subject to a precautionary or mandatory quarantine; any individual who is employed as a health care worker, nursing home worker or first responder; and any essential worker who directly interacts with the public while working.

The state has partnered with Google Maps to display testing site results when New Yorkers search “COVID testing near me” on Google Maps. Residents can also find their nearest site at coronavirus.health.ny.gov/covid-19-testing.

The state has also partnered with CVS pharmacies to establish testing at more than 60 locations in New York.

At his Sunday press conference, Cuomo got a swab test from Dr. Elizabeth Dufort, demonstrating how the process works.

Dufort, wearing a mask, face shield, gloves and gown conducted the test for all cameras to see, acting stoically as Cuomo provided a bit of banter.

“You make that gown look good,” Cuomo remarked when she approached.

“Head up a little bit,” Dufort said. “Close your eyes.”

“Close my eyes? Why do I need to close my eyes?” Cuomo asked, then turning and addressing the press. “You can question the doctor. That’s okay. Why do I need to close my eyes?

“For comfort,” Dufort said. “It might make you tear a little bit.”

“And if I fall asleep?” Cuomo asked.

“Then we’ll have you sit down,” Dufort responded.

She then slid the 6-inch swab into his nose. When it was over, Cuomo asked “That’s it?”

It was.

“That is the whole test,” Cuomo said. “I’m not in pain. I’m not in discomfort. Closing my eyes was a moment of relaxation. There is no reason why you should not get the test. And you don’t even have to be New York tough to take that test. You do have to be smart to get that test, and you have to be united, and you have to be disciplined for the period of time that you close your eyes. And you have to love yourself, and love your family, and love New York.”

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