NYC COVID cases rising as city prepares to shut down several testing sites

New York City is once again grappling with rising COVID-19 transmission rates.

According to the CDC, Omicron’s BA.5 sub-variant is now the dominant strain of the virus and accounts for nearly half of infections nationwide.

Dr. Purvi Parikh, an immunologist with NYU Langone Health, says BA.5 appears to be less dangerous than previous variants but is more resistant to vaccines.

"We are seeing more cases of re-infection, we are also seeing also the need sometimes for multiple rounds of Paxlovid or other treatments… so you know it is concerning, we have to keep an eye on it."

According to Gothamist, the city silently shut down more than 120 testing sites between this February and April, even as COVID-19 rebounded in the spring. 

The city is also planning on closing down seven more brick-and-mortar sites this month and will launch three "test to treat" vans.

NYC Health and Hospitals told Fox 5 in a statement: "At home test distribution dramatically expands the number of sites available for New Yorkers to get tested, ensuring fast, flexible, no cost COVID-19 testing."

Parikh says home tests may be more convenient, but they are often less accurate.

"The home tests are great but the important thing about them is that they’re a snapshot in time. This has happened multiple times even to my own patients that if you happen to test yourself too soon, it may actually report as a false negative and if you test again 2-3 days into the illness, then it turns positive," she adds.