NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – From new variations to holiday meetings, the number of COVID-19 Cases are increasing in the Big Apple.
The situation overwhelms test sites and queues.
Jenna DeAngelis of CBS2 has more on how the city plans to go about this.
LOOK FOR TEST PAGES: Click to view the New York City Location Finderincluding mobile websites and home appointments
AVOID THE LINES: Click here to test NYC Health + Hospitals wait times
“I’ve had my test here every week for the past month and a half, two months, and it has taken no more than five minutes until this week,” said Ezra Benus of Crown Heights.
On Thursday, Benus said he had waited an hour and a half.
“That’s after I came twice yesterday and then couldn’t get tested here,” said Benus.
“I was surprised that there was this line here today, but I decided to keep it up because of the new variations,” said Al Diraffaele of SoHo.
“I think there definitely has to be a better way, at least how to know when the lines aren’t long,” added Midtown’s Jackie Coleman.
And home tests are flying off the shelves. The Bowen Pharmacy pharmacist said the demand was so great he could only order a dozen.
“All 12 came this morning and all 12 are sold out,” said Michael Morelli.
Michael Carugan of Value Drugs in Eastchester said he couldn’t keep enough on shelves.
“We probably sold 23 test kits an hour within an hour … They fly off the counter, I have to say,” Carugan told CBS2’s Dick Brennan.
But the box of two tests costs around $ 30, which leads many to urge the government to give it away for free.
Lines for Covid tests at CityMD are running around the block again. It’s outrageous that after two years it’s still so hard to get a test in NYC.
In the meantime, don’t forget about the excellent city-run websites where the wait is usually much shorter. Updated locations and opening times: pic.twitter.com/NZpqn3QpjX
– Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) December 16, 2021
“It’s just annoying that almost two years after this pandemic it’s still so hard to get a test,” said Stadtrat Mark Levine, Chairman of the Health Committee.
Levine fought to ensure that supply could meet demand.
“The city, state, and federal government must use their purchasing power to buy millions of quick self-tests that can then be distributed to places like libraries and mailed to your home upon request,” said Levine.
Initially, the city will distribute 500,000 home tests through community-based organizations. It is part of a plan announced by the city on Thursday to increase testing capacity.
“New permanent locations for testing and we will expand the hours and capacities at many of our existing locations.” Major Bill de Blasio said.
“If you come to one of our Test & Trace Corps stationary locations and there is a line, we will equip that location with home tests,” said Dr. Ted Long.
Many medical experts think that frequent home testing could be our way out of the pandemic, but CBS2 wanted to know if they were really doing the job?
“The home tests are therefore less effective than the laboratory tests,” says the medical COVID advisor Dt. Said Stuart Weiss.
However, Weiss said the tests could be very useful right now, especially if you are visiting on vacation.
“If you visit Grandma tonight, I would take a test at home the day I visit Grandma. That they are very good. Within about six hours of an event, the home tests are very good, ”said Weiss.
“We think the home tests will be fine because they look at a part of the virus that should stay constant, but that data is still out,” Weiss said.
All in response to a massive surge. The city says the seven-day average for new cases has tripled in the past month. The number of cases has increased by nearly 50% across the country since last month. The CDC says while the Delta-Variant Remaining the dominant variety, the cases of Omicron double every two days.
“I think we have to keep protecting each other and it’s really important to get vaccinated and tested,” said Benus.
And the vaccine is a gift that will be available all of Christmas time.
If you’d like to get tested before going to a city page, you can check the wait times listed above or scan the QR code in the video above.
Dick Brennan of CBS2 contributed to this report.