May 7, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The public will be able to head to Long Island City to be tested for coronavirus antibodies free of charge next week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.
The neighborhood is one of five initial testing sites across the five boroughs that will launch next week.
The city aims to test 140,000 New Yorkers for antibodies through the initiative in partnership with BioReference Laboratories.
The first five testing centers will each test roughly 1,000 people per day to reach 70,000 people over the first two weeks of the program.
The next 70,000 tests will be done at the beginning of June, with more sites added, de Blasio said.
De Blasio didn’t disclose the exact locations of the five testing sites. City Hall will likely announce the locations later today.
The city will launch a hotline for New Yorkers to schedule appointments for the free testing tomorrow. Priority will go to residents who live in the neighborhoods where the testing sites are, de Blasio said.
“The goal is to focus on the people in the general area of these test sites,” de Blasio.
Antibody testing can show if a person has previously contracted the coronavirus, but health experts have warned that it doesn’t mean someone cannot be infected again.
The NYC Department of Health will study the results of the antibody testing to understand how the virus has impacted different demographics.
De Blasio said antibody testing provides information to the individual receiving the test, but also helps inform healthcare leaders.
“We’re really killing two birds with one stone,” he said. “The individual gets something they need, but the healthcare leadership, the scientists, they get the information they need to do the research better to answer the questions about the disease.”
People will be asked demographic and employment information when they are tested. They will receive their test results in 24 to 48 hours.
The 140,000 antibody tests for everyday New Yorkers are additional to the 140,000 antibody tests for New York City’s first responders and healthcare workers that the mayor announced last week.
Together that’s more than a quarter million antibody tests, de Blasio said.
“These are numbers that really start to add up even against the size of a city as big as ours.”