Testing, testing, testing in New York

COVID-19. Negotiating the coronavirus testing terrain can be confusing. Some sites have shut down, and some have gone mobile. Some have come with conditions, some are open to all. We’ve researched the availability of tests in the area and who meets the criteria for getting one.

30 Jun 2020 | 04:09

More than three months into the COVID-19 pandemic, people in New York have “flattened the curve” of infection. They did this by following Centers for Disease Control instructions to deal with this contagious virus: washing hands, social distancing, and wearing masks, along with a prolonged shutdown.

And that’s good news. However, with the number of virus cases rising in half the states in the country, it serves as a warning not to let up on the tactics that brought us to this point.

Testing is considered a vital tool in keeping the virus under control. What experts have learned is that many people show no symptoms of having the virus, yet they are carriers. Many state- or county-sponsored testing sites have closed recently.

State testing sites

New York, considered the epicenter of the virus, has had a dramatic change in its numbers statewide. Wide-spread testing has helped identify those with the virus. Social distancing, mandatory masks and an aggressive informational campaign have contributed to this positive result.

Two state sites are open for testing: The Anthony Wayne Recreation Center in Harriman State Park at Bear Mountain and the municipal parking lot in Haverstraw on West Broad Street.

Both sites, as well as other state sites in Westchester, require appointments but not referrals. However, those wishing to be tested must have symptoms or have been in direct contact with someone who has the virus. Testing is free.

Can I be tested?

According to the New York State Health Department website, the following criteria must be met to be eligible for testing:

• An individual is symptomatic or has a history of symptoms of COVID-19 (e.g. fever, cough, and/or trouble breathing), particularly if the individual is 70 years of age or older, the individual has a compromised immune system, or the individual has an underlying health condition; or

• An individual has had close (i.e. within six feet) or proximate contact with a person known to be positive with COVID-19; or

• An individual is subject to a precautionary or mandatory quarantine; or

• An individual is employed as a health care worker, first responder, or other essential worker who directly interacts with the public while working; or

• An individual presents with a case where the facts and circumstances – as determined by the treating clinician in consultation with state or local department of health officials – warrant testing; or

• An individual is included under other criteria set by the NYS Dept. of Health based on an individual’s geographic place of residence, occupation, or other factors that the Department may deem relevant for COVID-19 testing purposes; or

• Any individual who would return to workplace in Phase 1; or

• Any individual who attended any of the recent protests across the state.

For an appointment, call the state Health Department Coronavirus Hotline at 1-888-364-3065. Some form of identification must be provided at the site at the time of your appointment.

Private testing

New York State recommends that if you go to a non-state sponsored testing site you should check with the site and your insurer in advance. If you go to a test site operated by local governments, private companies, including pharmacies and medical practices or not-for-profit organizations, you are advised to check with the testing site and your insurer in advance of being tested to confirm you will not be responsible for any fees associated with your test.

Where to get tested
The following places provide testing in Orange County:
• WMCHealth at St. Anthony Community Hospital, Warwick. By appointment only; testing is available for current and former patients whose physicians are affiliated with Bon Secours Medical Group, Good Samaritan Hospital, St. Anthony Community Hospital and Bon Secours Community Hospital. Call primary physician for screening and referral. Testing done on an intermittent schedule. Photo identification required. Self-pay fee is $75.
• Excel Urgent Care, 1 Hatfield Lane #2b, Goshen. (845) 360-5530. Appointment not required; referral not required; testing for all patients.
• Orange Urgent Care, 75 Crystal Run Road, Middletown. (845) 703-2273. Appointment not required; referral not required.
• Crystal Run Healthcare, 155 Crystal Run Road, Middletown. (845) 703-6999. Appointment required; referral required; tests limited to certain patients.
• Rite Aid, Middletown. (845) 692-2422. Appointment required; referral not required.
• Middletown Medical, Middletown. (845) 342-4774. Appointment required; referral not required.
• Good Samaritan Hospital, Suffern -- (845) 368-5000. Appointment required; referral required; tests limited to certain patients.