NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Many people across New York state are still having trouble getting tested for COVID-19, even as more and more sites are coming online.

It’s a familiar sight all over, long lines outside testing centers.

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As CBS2’s Nick Caloway found out Wednesday, access to tests really depends on where you live.

“It was super, super easy,” said Jasara Peski of Montrose.

FIND TESTING SITES: Click here for New York City’s testing site locator, including mobile sites and at-home appointments

That was the experience in White Plains, where the Westchester County Center opened as a mass testing site in an effort to meet the skyrocketing demand for testing as the Omicron variant of the virus spreads like wildfire.

“I said to myself, ‘I better go and, you know, swab myself’ for whatever reason, because I don’t want to take no chances,” White Plains resident Ray Rodriguez said.

“I was surprised that there weren’t a ton of crowds. They just opened up the availability the other day. It’s a new site. It was really, really well done,” Peski added.

But just 25 minutes south in Co-op City in the Bronx, the reality was very different.

“It has been horrific. It has been horrible,” resident Leticia Grate said.


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Long lines stretched around a Stat Care Urgent walk-in clinic, leaving people, including 95-year-old Jean Fowler, waiting for hours in the cold.

“It’s just the idea of waiting on the line so long, especially for me at my age, it’s not really good,” Fowler said.

“They have to do better. If you want better, you have to do better. You have to provide people with the resources that they need to get tested,” Grate added.

AVOID THE LINES: Click here for NYC Health+Hospitals testing wait times

The city recently opened testing sites in all five boroughs and the state opened 13 new testing sites on Wednesday, including one in the Concourse section of the Bronx. That’s where Caloway found people waiting upwards of two hours and frustration boiling over.

“It’s all over. Everybody’s waiting, long lines all over,” one person said.


Health experts say testing will be key to getting kids back to school next week. Gov. Kathy Hochul again made the push for home tests to be made available to students as part of a test-to-stay program.

“And what that does is it makes sure that you have the test to be able to send home with the children, put them in their backpack if someone tests positive in their class. Let the parents test them the next morning, and send them back if it’s negative,” Hochul said.

The state also opened a pop-up vaccine site Wednesday at the Bronx Zoo. The site will close at 7 p.m. and reopen again on Jan. 15.

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CBS2’s Nick Caloway contributed to this report.

CBSNewYork Team