NYC Health + Hospitals opens COVID-19 antibody testing to all New Yorkers
AmNews Staff Reports | 7/2/2020, midnight
NYC Health + Hospitals recently announced expanded, walk-in antibody testing for all New Yorkers. The health system will begin offering free COVID-19 antibody tests at its 11 acute-care hospitals and select Gotham sites. Antibody testing, also called serology testing, is used to identify the presence of an immune response to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19. Patients will be offered both a diagnostic test, which uses a swab to identify and diagnose an active COVID-19 infection, and an antibody test unless they have COVID-19 symptoms. All New Yorkers, especially those who have had close contact with a confirmed case, should get a viral test, whether or not they have symptoms. Antibody testing does not replace a diagnostic viral test and is not ideal for diagnostic purposes if a patient has had symptoms for less than a week. As the city moves towards reopening, testing is encouraged for all New Yorkers.
“As we venture outdoors to dine and enjoy the sunshine, we can’t forget that widespread testing is still the key to reopening our city safely,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Getting a test should be simple, fast, and convenient, which is why we are bringing antibody and swab tests to the doorstep of every New Yorker—especially those in communities hardest hit by the virus.”
“All New Yorkers should get a COVID-19 nasal swab test, as testing is critical to reducing the transmission of COVID-19, and now we are proud to also offer the antibody test ” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “We are committed to providing all New Yorkers with necessary information about their health and their potential exposure to this virus.”
New Yorkers who want to be tested can walk in Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Patients will receive their testing results electronically via the public hospital system’s electronic health record system, MyChart. The test is free and there are no out-of-pocket fees or copays; however, patients with insurance will be asked for their insurance information.
Antibody testing is now available at the 11 acute-care facilities, and will expand to 10 NYC Health + Hospitals community testing clinics and, later, more than 25 pop-up sites across all boroughs.
To date, NYC Health + Hospitals has tested 23,000 employees since April when it began offering antibody testing at its 11 acute care hospitals. Antibody testing will be used to help the city understand disease prevalence and location of those infected (e.g. zip codes).
New Yorkers can visit NYC Health + Hospitals’ webpage at www.nychealthandhospitals.org to find a testing site closest to them.