New York City lab awaits CDC OK to do coronavirus testing

The New York City Public Health Lab in Long Island City, Queens, awaits approval to do diagnostic testing for the coronavirus. A glitch in the test equipment the lab was using caused a delay.

"So when we run a chemistry experiment, we add a little bit of this, a little bit of that to get the reactions that we want to see happen," Dr. Oxiris Barbot, the city's health commissioner, told FOX 5 NY. "What happened with the CDC is that one of those ingredients didn't work the way that it was supposed to and it was detected by a number of different labs across the country. So the CDC said, 'You're right, we need to do this again.'"

New York health officials are monitoring some 700 people statewide who recently traveled to China, where the outbreak began. That number excludes New York City, which at the moment, is only watching one case.


Federal officials just approved both Connecticut and New Jersey to conduct testing for COVID-19, the clinical name of the virus. Barbot said New York City has fixed the glitch with its test kit.

"The test itself, the protocol, they're all spot on," she said. "It's just that one piece that needs to be re-run."

The test takes between 24 and 36 hours to determine if the virus is present in a patient or not.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called on the CDC to authorize the lab to start testing immediately.


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