Governor Cuomo Announces New Test for COVID-19

NEW YORK -
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo provides a coronavirus update during a press conference in the Red Room at the State Capitol in Albany. (Mike Groll/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Governor Cuomo also announced that New York State’s Wadsworth Lab has developed a new, less intrusive test for COVID-19. The new test is done through a saliva sample and a self-administered short nasal swab in the presence of a health care professional. Additionally, health care professionals can self-administer the test without another health care professional present.

This new test will help conserve personal protective equipment, or PPE, for healthcare workers, reduce potential exposure of the virus to health care workers and will allow the state to continue to test as many individuals as possible in New York amid the national shortage of the more intrusive nasopharyngeal (NP) swabs. Self-collection of nasal swabs has been done before for other respiratory viruses such as flu and it has been shown to be effective and safe, and collection of a saliva sample is simple and non-invasive. This new testing will begin within a week.

After speaking with the state’s major pharmacy chains, the Governor announced that pharmacies have agreed to offer free home delivery to help reduce long lines for prescriptions at their facilities.

“There is no state in the nation that is better prepared or better mobilized to combat this virus than New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “The number of cases is still going up towards the apex, and the development of new, faster tests will be critical in flattening this curve, getting people back to work and returning to normalcy.

“We will get through this because we are New Yorkers – we are strong, we have endurance and we have stability. We have a plan, we’re executing that plan and we will manage any obstacle that we come across.”