Capitol Notes

State official recommends weekly COVID-19 testing of essential workers

A top state official coordinating New York’s  response to the novel coronavirus is recommending essential workers who regularly interact with the public get weekly tests for the virus.

“There right now is the capacity in New York to be testing, I believe, more people than we are testing right now,” state Department of Financial Services Deputy Superintendent Gareth Rhodes told The Capitol Pressroom in a previously unaired excerpt from a recent interview.

When asked whether grocery store employees should be tested weekly for the virus, Rhodes said, “I would recommend it.”

As a result of the state’s current ability to test for COVID-19, which is about 30,000 samples a day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently directed nursing home staff to be tested twice a week for the virus. Rhodes said the administration has spoken with many businesses in the state about how often their employees should be tested and believes testing of asymptomatic New Yorkers is a useful way of curtailing the spread of the virus.

“We’re directing and encouraging and opening the door to many more people – who are spending their days working with other people – to get tested,” Rhodes said.

There were 33,794 tests conducted on Tuesday and more than 1.25 million New Yorkers have been checked for the virus since testing began, according to state data.

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