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  • Nic F. Anderson

NYC Mayor to Distribute 6.3 Million At-Home COVID-19 Tests

Mayor Eric Adams and New York City health leaders called on congress to appropriate more than $15 billion in emergency funding for COVID-19.

Last week, Mayor Adams met with the New York City congressional delegation and urged them to push for immediate passage of the COVID-19 aid package. While the deliberation happens, the NYC Test & Trace Corps will provide an additional 6.3 million free at-home tests in April to over 2,500 community organizations, libraries, cultural institutions, houses of worship and elected offices across the city. New York City will continue providing testing and vaccine services to New Yorkers at no cost through NYC Health + Hospitals.

New York City is experiencing another surge of COVID-19 and its variants. Despite this, the Dr. Ashish Jha, who has been dubbed the “White House’s COVID czar,” said that overall, hospitalizations throughout the United States have remained low and that he was not too concerned.

“We’ve got to watch this very carefully — obviously, I never like to see infections rising — I think we’ve got to be careful,” Dr. Jha said on the “Today” show. “But I don’t think this is a moment where we have to be excessively concerned.”

Mayor Adams seems to agree on being careful. “We have more tools than ever to fight COVID-19, but now is not the time to scale back,” he said. “As we step up and provide more than 6 million at-home tests to keep our residents safe, we need our federal government to continue pushing for much-needed resources. We remain committed to assisting the New York City congressional delegation as they work to secure COVID-19 supplemental funding, but inaction by certain members of Congress right now puts the whole country at risk. We need federal action now before we’re left to fend for ourselves if another surge hits our city.”

The NYC Test & Trace Corps has already distributed nearly 11 million at-home tests, 7 million of these tests have been delivered to New York City schools.

“New York City is well positioned to respond to the increase in cases through a robust testing network, including the distribution of over 6 million at-home tests through community-based partnerships” Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom said. “I urge all New Yorkers to take the necessary precautions, including getting vaccinated, boosted, and wearing a mask, in order to protect their health, the health of their families, and school communities.”

The NYC Test & Trace Corps currently has a “stockpile of tens of millions of tests that can be rapidly distributed in the event of a surge,” according to the mayor’s office.

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan said, “Cases are rising, and we expect to see a steady increase in transmission as BA.2 continues to circulate around the city.. We’ve all been through so much the last couple years and we need every tool available to us. It’s crucial we all take the steps we know work to keep us safe and healthy, like getting vaccinated, boosted, tested, and wearing masks in settings where the vaccination status of those around you are unknown. ”

Despite the federal government approving a second booster dose for adults aged 50 and older, President Joe Biden cautioned the public that there may not be enough supply to guarantee free access to vaccines for those who want them this fall.

“We want every New Yorker to have access to home tests so you can know if you have COVID before you go to work, school, or see friends and loved ones,” said Dr. Ted Long, executive director, NYC Test & Trace Corps; senior vice president of Ambulatory Care and Population Health, NYC Health + Hospitals.

New Yorkers can find an at-home test distribution location most convenient to them by visiting the city’s coronavirus testing page. New Yorkers with disabilities who need assistance or have questions regarding at home test kits or otherwise should call 311. Those who are deaf or hard of hearing and use American Sign Language can call via video phone at 646-396-5830.

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