NYC Health + Hospitals today announced the health system will begin to offer free COVID-19 testing to all employees regardless of symptoms or where they work. The COVID-19 employee testing program will be rolled out in phases over the next four weeks to help reduce exposure and to protect staff and patients. The health system will initially prioritize testing to employees who have symptoms and employees who are caring for COVID-19 patients. The free test will also be available to employees who have no symptoms and have family members at home who have tested positive to COVID-19, and then finally to all employees who want a test.
“We are committed to the health and wellness of our heroic workforce during this unprecedented crisis and we will leave no stone unturned to protect their safety and the safety of our patients,” said Machelle Allen, MD, NYC Health + Hospitals Chief Medical Officer. “We will offer every single employee the opportunity to get tested so they can take the necessary precautions to stay safe. And we will continue to secure the additional staff support, hospital beds, PPE and any other equipment our essential workers need to provide the quality, compassionate care New Yorkers need more than ever.”
“We appreciate that NYC Health + Hospitals is announcing today that healthcare workers can get tested for COVID-19, especially if they are experiencing symptoms, in a high-risk category or have come in contact with positive patients,” said Frank Proscia, M.D., President of the Doctors Council. “This was one of the issues we heard from our frontline members about and we brought it to NYC Health + Hospitals’ attention. This shows the importance of listening to the input of doctors. While the advocacy and urgent need for more N95 masks, all PPE and ventilators continues, the testing of healthcare workers is a positive and needed development.”
The test will be offered to all staff by appointment only at any of the health system’s 11 hospitals and 7 large community-based Gotham Health centers, from 7 a.m. – 3 p.m., Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Tuesday and Thursday. Employees test results will be available within 1 to 2 days.
The health system has created a special appointment hotline for employees and is dedicating two clinicians, which includes a physician and nurse, each facility to perform the staff tests. NYC Health + Hospitals employees who tests positive for COVID-19, even if they have no symptoms, will be advised to inform their personal physician, their supervisor and their employee health office. Employees who test positive, even with no symptoms, will be asked to stay home and follow the NY State Department of Health guidelines on when to report back to work.
To protect staff confidentiality, test results will only be shared with the employee. NYC Health + Hospitals will not report test results by groups or facilities.
NYC Health + Hospitals COVID-19 testing for employees will roll out over the next four weeks in this order:
April 1 – Testing begins for employees who are symptomatic and are home in isolation.
April 8 – Testing opens for employees who have no symptoms and are providing direct care to COVID-19 patients.
April 15 – Testing opens for employees who have no symptoms and have family members at home who have tested positive to COVID-19.