NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Rapid coronavirus tests will be expanded in New York City.

It comes as some residents are waiting nearly two weeks to get their test results.

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Half of the coronavirus test results in the city come back within two days. Still, thousands of residents are having to wait much longer, sometimes up to two weeks.

“My message to all New Yorkers is if you are going to go get those tests, go to a Health and Hospitals facility, you’ll get the fastest turnaround,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.

According to the city, most of the delays are coming from Urgent Care facilities that use national lab Quest Diagnostics that is now overwhelmed by states experiencing a surge in cases.


To shorten the lag time in New York City, nine clinics that provide sexual health services will begin to provide COVID testing starting next week.

“And the real advance here is that we’re installing machines at those clinics themselves where people can get test results within the same day,” said Dr. Jay Varma with the New York City health department.

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City leaders are also working with partner labs to try to speed up the results.

BioReference Laboratories, that processes 1 in 5 tests in the city, has maintained a two-day turnaround, but it’s not easy.

“It’s a huge balancing act. What comes in. How much supplies you have. How well the machines are running. Every day, every single day literally, there are multiple variables that occur for us to meet our committed turnaround time,” executive chairman Dr. John Cohen told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

Quick results not only help keep the public safe…

“It’s going to make it impossible to have the kind of mass repeated testing of employees or students at universities that we want in the next phase of this fight,” said Mark Levin, chair of the City Council committee on health.

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It’s crucial in reopening the economy.