HELL’S KITCHEN, Manhattan — The city and state are still struggling to keep up with testing demand as this omicron surge continues in New York.
More than 74,000 New Yorkers tested positive Wednesday. Hospitalized COVID patients stand at 7,373– with the hospital numbers expected to approach March 2020 levels if the pace continues for another two weeks.
Health officials suggest you get a test if you plan to gather with anyone else for New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.
PIX 11’s Henry Rosoff waited on line at a city-run testing location in Hells Kitchen. It took him about an hour to get a rapid test. Doctors at the site said a PCR would take about two days — despite the Mayor’s Office insisting the city gets results in about 24 hours.
Throughout @PIX11News at 5pm I will be waiting on a @nycHealthy testing line in Hells Kitchen.— Henry Rosoff (@HenryRosoff) December 30, 2021
Talking about this latest COVID surge and the city’s response… let’s see how long this takes… LIVE pic.twitter.com/Z4RndqQMD1
“We should plan and expect a challenging few weeks, certainly through January, with the winter surge due to omicron,” conceded Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi.
Still, most elected leaders remain hesitant about telling people to stop gathering in large groups, nor is there much encouragement to work from. Instead, vaccination and testing remains the focus.
In Nassau County, a long line of cars waited to pick up badly needed at home test kits.
County Executive Laura Curran conceded there is really no way to tell how the results will be tracked.
“I have to imagine human nature being what it is, most people will not report if they test positive at home,” she said. “But we’re just asking people to do what they have been doing this entire pandemic, just use your common sense.”
The focus certainly seems to have shifted in many corners of the tri-state region to doing what is needed to protect not just livesm but livelihoods.
“To keep society running as normal as possible,” Curran said at the kit handout event. “Schools are going to open in a week or so. We want to keep them open, and we want to keep our businesses running with as few disruptions as possible.”
In New York City, you can spot a long testing line every few block as the city and state scramble to open new locations, including in government office buildings and down in the subways.
The city has been been criticized for closing sites just ahead of this wave.
“We’ve already added 60 new testing sites, but we won’t stop,” Chokshi said. “Test and trace will continue to add testing sites and increase access to rapid tests.”