at-home tests

New Yorkers Will Soon Be Able to Order Free PCR Home Tests Via Overnight Mail

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New Yorkers frustrated tracking down at-home tests and waiting hours in line when temperatures are near freezing will soon get the option to order a test from the comfort of their home.

Officials announced Monday an upcoming online portal to request an at-home PCR test kit to detect for COVID-19. The details are still being worked out, but the state expects to have plans finalized by the end of the week.

The test kits offered through the state's forthcoming program will be sent to New Yorkers overnight and will contain free return shipping packaging. Recipients will self-swab at home before sending off the kit to be tested with results expected back within 48 hours.

The demand for testing has been overwhelming in recent weeks, with New York testing more than 250,000 statewide for most of the past five days. Near record-high testing has also produced record numbers of positive cases.

On Monday, the state broke its own record for daily infections for a fourth day in a row. The latest set of data reflected nearly 23,400 new positive cases.

At least 192 cases of omicron have now been confirmed in New York state, about a fifth of them in New York City, though experts believe that 192 number is significantly underreported. The Empire State only conducts the genetic sequencing necessary to isolate variants on 3.6% of positive COVID samples, well lower than other hotspots like California (6.07%) but higher than New Jersey.

NBC New York's Jessica Cunnington reports.
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