Get tested once a month? Experts say NYC’s COVID-19 recommendations are unrealistic

New York City’s top public health officials are encouraging New Yorkers to get tested for coronavirus once every month as schools and businesses begin to reopen.

"About once a month is practical," said Dr. Jay Varma, Mayor Bill de Blasio's Senior Advisor for Public Health. "We know this infection can be spread by people who don't currently have symptoms, and so the only way we can do this is by having New Yorkers continuously and regularly seeking out as much testing as possible."


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But some doctors say there’s just one problem with the idea.

“We’re hearing there are delays from seven of up to 14 days for some people. If there are those many delays, the question is should we be more focusing on those that need the tests more urgently,” said Dr. Purvi Parikh of NYU Langone Health.

Dr. Parikh says that although tests are key to keeping the number of COVID-19 cases down, the delays in results aren’t giving an accurate snapshot in time.

“Let’s say it does become more reliable and testing results are coming back sooner, then I think it would be helpful for people to have frequent testing so we can keep track of the numbers,” Dr. Parikh said.

While there is yet to be a formal plan put in place by the city on the frequency of tests, medical experts still say you should get tested, but only if you have to.

“Until we can get more expedited test results, we may want to limit it to as needed or if you need it to go back into some kind of environments like a school or your work environment,” Dr. Parikh said.

New York City has the ability to conduct roughly 50,000 tests a day, but only 30,000 are reportedly being done. However, even though testing has increased, the positive test rate has stayed at 1 percent or below since June.

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