NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City is looking to streamline the coronavirus testing process and hire 1,000 health care professionals for its contact tracing program.

Mayor Bill de Blasio has said both testing and tracing will be key to reopening the economy.

WATCH: Mayor De Blasio Delivers Latest Coronavirus Update 

The mayor announced a new “self-swab” testing method during Monday’s COVID-19 briefing.

Starting this week, people will be able to take their own samples at the city’s eight community testing sites.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

De Blasio says this will protect health care workers and preserve personal protective equipment.

“Much simpler, much easier for everyone involved, no chance to cause the same kind of sneezing that that long swab way up the nose does,” he said. “Simpler but also safer, especially for that health care worker, so many of whom have been putting their lives on the line now for weeks and weeks.”

The mayor said each of the community testing sites currently administers 15 tests per hour, but the new process will allow for at least 20 an hour. The sites have tested more than 5,000 people since April 17.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

De Blasio said the city will need help from private labs to process the results, along with supplies from the federal government.

“We have enough to get started, but we need to make sure we can do this on a wide scale,” he said. “So I’m asking the private labs to step up, make the small alterations necessary to be able to take these simpler tests.”

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Additionally, the city is hoping to hire 1,000 contact tracers to track patients’ contacts, similar to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s so-called disease detectives.

“We are hiring. We are looking for talented, experienced health workers… If you have experience in the health care field, if you’re ready to lend your talents to this fight, we need you and we need you right away,” said the mayor. “We are hiring immediately and we will be hiring throughout the month of May.”

Job listings can be found at fphnyc.org. 

Comments
  1. Debbie says:

    Why is this particular virus different than any other virus? We have one every year. Thousands die. People dying of natural or other causes are being tallied as coronavirus deaths. The statistics are skewed. We made an error by shutting down a prosperous country due to an illness that the population would have built up immunity to if left to nature and herd immunity. How will we ever explain this to future generations?

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