Health officials warn New York City could run out of virus test swabs

New York City is in danger of running out of swabs for COVID-19 tests and should only test hospitalized patients, the city health department said in a memo to health care providers over the weekend.

“As the swab supply continues to decline, there is a real possibility hospitals will completely run out,” the April 11 health alert said. “At this time, providers are reminded to only test hospitalized patients in order to preserve resources that are needed to diagnose and appropriately manage patients with more severe illness.”

The warning came amid repeated pleas from New York City and state officials for the federal government to provide widespread testing in order to move to a containment phase in the coronavirus outbreak.


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“We can’t make that transition back to normal without testing on a much larger scale,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said Monday on a TV appearance.