Mayor Says NYC Can Perform 50,000 Coronavirus Tests Daily

Members of the National Guard a state-managed coronavirus drive-thru testing site that opened earlier in the day on Staten Island in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens/File)

New York City has reached its goal of performing 50,000 coronavirus tests a day, and its contact tracing effort has potentially prevented thousands of new infections, officials said Thursday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said four new clinics operated by the urgent care company MedRite will bring the total citywide daily testing capacity to 50,000.

“This is the number we’ve been wanting to get to for quite a while. We will now have that capacity,” he said.

Dr. Ted Long, the head of the city’s contact tracing effort, said the median wait for test results citywide is now two days, down from more than double that a week ago, but he acknowledged that waits at some testing sites have been much longer.

Long said the city’s contact tracers have identified more than 17,000 contacts of people who tested positive and have instructed those who were experiencing symptoms of the virus to isolate at home, an effort that he estimated may have prevented thousands of new cases.

Some models suggest that each person who is infected with the coronavirus can infect an average of 2.5 other people, Long said.

Long said of the contacts of infected people who are themselves experiencing symptoms of the virus when contact tracers reach them: “If they’d gone out there and infected 2.5 other people each, then we’ve potentially prevented, by not allowing that to happen, more than 5,000 new cases of the coronavirus across New York City since our program began on June 1.”

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