As the fight against COVID-19 is only set to ramp up and get more painful in the coming weeks, some of those fighting the toughest fights at area hospitals just got a little bit of good news.
NYC Health + Hospitals, the group which operates all the public hospitals in New York City, announced Wednesday that all employees will be able to have free testing for the virus — regardless if they are exhibiting symptoms or not.
The health care group said that initial testing will prioritize those who have symptoms and those who have been caring for COVID-19 patients, then to those who have shown no symptoms but have family members at home who tested positive. The program will be rolled out in phases over the next four weeks, NYC Health + Hospitals said in a press release, and all employees who want a test will be able to participate once all other priority cases have been tested.
Here is a look at what the testing schedule looks like:
- April 1 – Testing begins for employees who are symptomatic and are home in isolation
- April 8 – Testing opens for employees who have no symptoms and are providing direct care to COVID-19 patients
- April 15 – Testing opens for employees who have no symptoms and have family members at home who have tested positive to COVID-19
- April 22 – Testing opens for all employees
‘We are committed to the health and wellness of our heroic workforce during this unprecedented crisis and we will leave no stone unturned to protect their safety and the safety of our patients,” said Dr. Machelle Allen, the chief medical officer for NYC Health + Hospitals. “We will offer every single employee the opportunity to get tested so they can take the necessary precautions to stay safe. And we will continue to secure the additional staff support, hospital beds, PPE and any other equipment our essential workers need to provide the quality, compassionate care New Yorkers need more than ever.”
The test will be offered to all staff by appointment only at any of the 11 hospitals and seven Gotham Health Centers from 7 a.m. - 3 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. The test results will be available in 1-2 days, the hospital group said.
Catching the virus has been chief among concerns from those in the medical field, with many afraid to return hoe out of fear they will spread it to their loved ones. Many have come forward to express concerns that the personal protective equipment they have bee given is insufficient, or that supplies are running out, forcing them to re-use materials and thereby exposing them to the coronavirus.