NEW YORK-Any person with COVID-19 symptoms in New York City (NYC) is now eligible for a test, as the city is trying to reach its daily goal of testing 20,000 people, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio said. In addition, contacts of COVID-19 patients and workers in such gathering places as homeless shelters and detention centers can receive the test, the mayor said at his daily briefing.
“Lack of widespread testing was our Achilles’ heel from day one,” de Blasio said, adding that “We’re still playing catch-up, and unfortunately that’s because the help we needed from the federal government never was there in the beginning, still isn’t here, but we do not let that stop us.”
More medical workers and personal protective equipment can be spared from hospitals to testing sites, said the mayor, expressing his confidence in achieving the daily goal of testing 20,000 people by May 25, when 12 additional testing sites will be added across all five boroughs.
The reopening of NYC needs to be “slow and steady” and “very careful,” de Blasio told CNN in an interview on Thursday. “It’s about health and safety first. It’s about avoiding that boomerang where the disease reasserts, which will be the worst of all worlds,” he said.
Repeating his call for more funding from the federal government, the mayor said that the city spent 7 billion U.S. dollars paying for police, teachers, health care workers and other frontline heroes during the first few weeks of the outbreak.
“Right now, if we don’t get a massive infusion of federal support, we cannot go through this recovery. We cannot get our city back on our feet because we won’t be able to pay for the basics,” he noted.
NYC is still around halfway towards meeting all seven benchmarks for reopening, which are set by the state government.
Five regions in central and northern New York state will restart their economy on Friday night when the “PAUSE” order expires.
Several types of businesses, including construction, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fishing, will be allowed to operate in the first stage of reopening.
As of Thursday, the city has reported over 186,000 cases and more than 15,300 confirmed deaths, the city tally shows