State expands COVID-19 testing

—Still frame from May 17 press conference video

“You don’t even have to be New York tough to take that test,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo after having his nose swabbed.

ALBANY — At his press briefing today, Governor Andrew Cuomo had his nose swabbed. He was demonstrating how simple a diagnostic test for COVID-19 is.

In a few seconds, a gowned and masked doctor, Elizabeth Dufort, took the sample.

“That is the whole test,” the governor said after the swab was removed from his nostril. “I’m not in pain. I’m not in discomfort. Closing my eyes was a moment of relaxation. There is no reason why you should not get the test.”

Cuomo had announced earlier in the briefing that the state has doubled testing capacity to reach 40,000 diagnostic tests per day. He encouraged eligible New Yorkers to visit a new website to find a nearby testing site.

Cuomo’s announcement came three weeks after his agreement for the state to work with the federal government to increase New York’s daily testing capacity from 20,000 tests a day to 40,000 tests a day.

“Per capita we are doing more than other countries — significantly more,” Cuomo said. “Diagnostic tests by population, New York is 7.1. Italy is second, 4.1. Canada, USA, nationally is doing 3.3. We're double the national average.”

The state’s diagnostic testing criteria now includes all residents who would return to the workplace in Phase 1 of reopening.

That expands this list of New Yorkers eligible for testing — any any resident who has COVID-19 symptoms; has had contact with a person known to be positive with COVID-19; is subject to a precautionary or mandatory quarantine; is employed as a health care worker, nursing home worker or first responder; and is essential worker who directly interacts with the public while working.

New Yorkers can now find the nearest COVID-19 testing sites by entering their address to see a list and a map of the nearest testing sites at

The state has also partnered with Google Maps to display testing site results. New Yorkers can search “COVID testing near me” on Google Maps to find the nearest testing sites.

New York State is also partnering with CVS to bring testing to more than 60 CVS pharmacies across the state, the governor said, and each site will be able to conduct 50 or more tests per day.

Cuomo stressed that testing is essential for reopening.

“We’re all talking about what is the spread of the virus when you increase economic activity,” he said. “Well, how do you know what the spread of the virus is? Testing, testing, testing.”

With 700 testing sites statewide, Cuomo said, residents who meet the criteria have no excuse not to get tested.

“There is nothing about this test that should intimidate people from not taking this test. It is fast, it is easy. It is so fast and so easy that even a governor can take this test,” Cuomo said.

And he did.


Albany County

Albany County Executive Daniel McCoy announced at his Sunday press briefing that 1,455 county residents have now tested positive for COVID-19, up 4 from Saturday; 772 are under mandatory quarantine and 6 are under precautionary quarantine.

The five-day average for positive tests is 16.

The county’s death toll from the disease remains at 68.

So far, 3,795 county residents have completed quarantine and 947 residents who tested positive have recovered.

Twenty-nine county residents are hospitalized with coronaviruse disease 2019 with 6 in intensive-care units.

Albany County residents can be tested at a drive-through state facility at the uptown University at Albany campus, at mobile walk-up facilities in at-risk neighborhoods, at a Colonie Rite-Aid, and at Priority 1 Urgent Care in Guilderland.

Details for these test sites are posted on the county’s website.

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