The state is starting to expand COVID-19 testing after weeks of reserving it for people with symptoms in an effort to conserve supplies.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced today that New York is starting to test health care workers for antibodies, and next week will do the same for other essential workers, such as those who operate mass transit and law enforcement officers.
The antibody tests show if a person has had COVID-19 even if he or she did not experience any symptoms. These tests are widely seen as a crucial key to re-opening the economy, but the World Health Organization warned just today that antibodies do not guarantee immunity.
The governor said health care professionals at four New York City hospitals that were hit hard by the pandemic will be first in line to receive the tests - a move that comes as hospitalizations due to the virus have fallen to their lowest level in three weeks.
The list of those eligible for tests will expand to include a wide array of essential workers, including grocery store employees, undertakers, dry cleaners, first responders and more.
Cuomo said today that he will sign an executive order to allow independent pharmacies to serve as collection points for testing samples.
At the moment, New York is conducting about 20,000 diagnostic and antibody tests daily. With the help of the federal government, Cuomo hopes to double that number.