NY to test for coronavirus using private labs after expressing frustration at Trump admin

Per Yahoo, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo expressed his frustration Wednesday with the Trump administration’s failure to provide adequate testing for the coronavirus and said his state would begin contracting with private labs.

“We’re not in a position where we can rely on the CDC or the FDA to manage this testing protocol,” Cuomo said at a news conference in Albany.

More than 200 people have so far tested positive for the coronavirus in New York, more than half of them in Westchester County, adjacent to New York City. The number of reported cases across the United States rose above 1,000 on Tuesday. But owing to a shortage of testing kits and confusion about who should be tested, the actual number of infected people is believed to be much higher.

Fox News reports New York will begin contracting private labs to increase testing capacity for the novel coronavirus as officials work to contain an outbreak largely concentrated in a Westchester County suburb. In a press conference on Wednesday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said testing efforts at a federal level are not enough to satisfy the state’s needs.

“New York state has decided to use 28 private labs in the state to increase testing,” Cuomo said, while announcing that there are now 212 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region, including 48 in New York City. “New York can no longer rely on the CDC or FDA, but some of these state labs still need FDA-approved protocols.”

The news comes a day after Cuomo announced a one-mile “containment zone” in New Rochelle that will shut down for two weeks beginning on Thursday. He said the National Guard will help sanitize the area and that “large gathering facilities” within the zone will be shut down as officials work to stifle the spread of coronavirus.

Some businesses within the zone will remain open, and those who live within the one-mile radius will be allowed to come and go as needed, Cuomo said on Tuesday. Additionally, Northwell Health set up a satellite testing area in the zone to help expedite the process.

The New Rochelle cases have been linked to a lawyer who works in midtown Manhattan and visited a synagogue and other locations while infectious. That man’s wife, two children, and a neighbor who drove him to a hospital in Bronxville all tested positive for the virus, as did several other members of a family that had contact with him. He has since been transferred to a hospital in New York City where he is said to be improving. It is not known yet where he contracted the viral infection as he has no prior travel history to coronavirus hotspots.