Coronavirus Response Could Last Six Months or More, Governor Says

Cuomo said Friday during the opening of a New Rochelle drive-thru facility that will test for Covid-19

Crain’s New York Business

New York state could be dealing with virus response for six months or more, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday during the opening of a New Rochelle drive-thru facility that will test for Covid-19.

“I don’t believe this is going to be a short-term issue,” Cuomo said. “This is going to be a matter of months.”

He said that could mean mean six, seven, eight or nine months that the state will be responding to the outbreak.

The governor said the facility, operated by Northwell Health, will have six lanes and will be able to process 200 people today with plans to increase its capacity to 500 in the next few days. 

The state is working with BioReference Laboratories with the aim of processing 5,000 tests per day by next week. It has contracted with 28 public and private labs in New York as well as out-of-state labs to increase the number of samples it can process. Some are still waiting on federal approval to begin testing.

The governor asked the Trump administration to give the state greater authority over approving labs to do testing Friday morning, so it could identify more people with Covid-19, isolate them and contain the spread of the illness.

“Let the federal government decentralize the authority to state governments,” he said. “In New York we have dozens of laboratories that could start testing tomorrow.”

It was granted that authority later in the day Friday. 

Testing will be done by appointment-only, with priority given to people in New Rochelle and to vulnerable populations, such as those with underlying illnesses, particularly respiratory diseases. Appointments can be made by calling 888-364-3065.

The governor said the logjam in testing is not related to a lack of test kits but limited approvals for labs conducting testing. The state Health commissioner said Thursday afternoon that about 2,300 people had been tested in the state. 

The state said Friday afternoon that 421 people have been diagnosed with Covid-19 in New York, with 154 of those individuals living in New York City.

New Rochelle has been a focal point for the outbreak, with more than 100 people testing positive there.

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