New York Opening Virus Testing to All Residents, Cuomo Says

New York state is opening testing to all residents as the number of positive coronavirus cases in more than half of the country continues to rise.

The state previously had limited testing to essential workers, nursing-home staff and those who had been exposed. But Governor Andrew Cuomo said at a virus briefing on Wednesday that it has increased testing capacity and all New Yorkers can and should be tested.

“Go get a test,” Cuomo said. “It doesn’t cost you anything. It doesn’t hurt.”

Since March, the state has tested 4 million of its approximately 19 million residents and has more than 750 testing sites, he said.

The announcement came as the number of hospitalizations totaled 879, the lowest five-day average since the pandemic began in March, Cuomo said. Virus-related deaths also remained low, with 11 fatalities Tuesday.

But “dark clouds” are on the horizon, Cuomo said. “We are in the middle of a national crisis and we have to be careful.”

He said other states had reopened too soon, and he again criticized President Donald Trump. “He denied the reality of this situation from Day One,” Cuomo said. “And now the country is suffering because of the president.”

He urged Trump to “come clean,” admit the threat of the virus and send a message to the nation: “Put a mask on it, Mr. President.”

New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut on Tuesday expanded their quarantine list to 16 states — requiring those traveling from areas with a high number of positive cases to isolate for 14 days.

Though the number of new cases in New York remains low, citizen compliance is dropping and local governments aren’t correcting it, Cuomo said. The state is going to create its own enforcement department to supplement local efforts to police social distancing, he said.

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