JONES BEACH, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – More widespread coronavirus testing began Wednesday on Long Island with the opening of drive-thru testing at Stony Brook University, and also private urgent care facilities.
A seemingly endless stream of sick patients, masked and waiting in their cars, were looking for test results to confirm their fears, reported CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
“Last night I developed a fever of 100.4. I had some shaking, chills,” said a health care worker.
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That worker is among the first to be tested at ProHEALTH Urgent Care in Jericho, launching day one of its on-site testing.
“We are seeing people, patients quite sick and 100, 101, fever and a cough, plus or minus contacts, direct contacts,” said Dr. Bonnie Simmons, medical director of Pro-HEALTH Urgent Care.
ProHEALTH’s existing patients are allowed to drive thru. Others can book appointments on the website.
“This is huge, I refer to this as turning on the lights,” said Dr. Daniel Griffin, Chief of Infectious Diseases at ProHEALTH.
Dr. Griffin says prioritization is given based on symptoms and contacts, but not a rigid criteria.
“We have to be doctors. We can’t just follow a list of boxes. We’ve got to make clinical judgments, and when you see something that seems wrong, you’ve got to say ‘I’m going to step outside of this strict paradigm,'” Dr. Griffin said.
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That’s a shift from just days ago, when the state dictated only those with direct contact with a COVID-19 confirmed patient were given access to limited tests.
Now, even at New York’s drive-thru testing site at Jones Beach, anyone can make an appointment through the state’s COVID hotline 1-(888)-364-3065, but those with symptoms and known contacts will move to the front of the line.
Hundreds were processed the first day.
“We have good capacity, we are running very well. We’ve actually increased the number that we are processing per hour,” said George Gorman of the New York State Parks Department.
Hospitals like Good Samaritan in West Islip are also testing on site for symptomatic patients in triage tents. Around the region, the ability to get tested is easing, with the wait for results ranging from 2-5 days.
For now, there is no available test to determine if you’ve already had COVID-19 and are potentially immune. That could happen in weeks.
ProHEALTH is also testing at its Little Neck urgent care, and will open additional testing sites as needed.