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.
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.
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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.
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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.”