Testing for All: NYC Test & Trace Corps Deploys Mobile Testing Teams to Support Hospital Emergency Departments During Omicron Surge
Mobile testing teams have deployed to 37 unique hospitals to alleviate demand on hospital emergency departments
Jan 12, 2022
The NYC Test & Trace Corps announced today that it has deployed mobile testing teams to 37 New York City hospitals to provide critical relief for emergency departments during the omicron surge. Test & Trace will continue mobile testing deployments to support New York City’s health care system for as long as needed. Since December 28, mobile testing teams have deployed over 230 cumulative days of testing that have provided nearly 20,000 tests at 28 private hospitals and nine New York City Health + Hospitals locations.
“Our healthcare heroes have given so much during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Eric Adams. “As hospitals face a surge due to the Omicron variant, we are committed to getting them the support they need. These mobile testing teams are a critical tool in our fight to relieve the burden on our health care facilities and stop the spread.”
“As an Emergency Medicine doctor, I have seen firsthand how lack of access to testing has contributed to the overburdening of our healthcare system,” said Dara Kass, MD, Region 2 Regional Director for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. “Keeping our emergency departments running is essential, and these mobile testing teams will make a big difference. Federally supported community-based efforts like this are important to managing this COVID surge. We applaud the NYC Test & Trace program for providing help to city hospitals.”
“For nearly two years, we’ve banded together as one city to respond to the ever-changing needs of the pandemic, sharing resources, personnel, strategies, and more throughout hospital systems,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “It would be no different when it comes to triaging testing capabilities where they are most needed during the omicron surge. A huge thanks to our Test & Trace teams for their continued commitment to fighting back every challenge this virus throws at our city.”
“Mobile testing teams decompress our hospitals by offering testing outside of the emergency department, so that our doctors and nurses can do what they do best—save lives,” said Senior Vice President of Ambulatory Care and Population Health at New York City Health + Hospitals and NYC Test & Trace Corps Executive Director Dr. Ted Long. “What we have learned from prior waves is that we must offer New Yorkers alternatives to the emergency department if they are not sick. The doctors and nurses in our emergency departments are heroes and we will continue to do everything in our power to support New York City’s hospitals in this time of need.”
“The NYC Test & Trace Corps’ deployment of mobile testing teams to 37 New York City hospitals is a wonderful example of the entire hospital community working together during an emergency,” said Greater New York Hospital Association President Kenneth E. Raske. “This decisive action will help all hospitals decompress the current emergency department surge that is being driven by people going to emergency departments to be tested for COVID-19. We are very grateful to Dr. Mitch Katz and NYC Health + Hospitals for their leadership and can-do spirit in this challenging moment.”
“Our emergency departments and the heroes that work within are remarkable, tough, and resilient,” said Brendan Carr, MD, MS, Chair of Emergency Medicine at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Mount Sinai Health System. “The past two years have prepared us on how best to adapt, mitigate and treat our patients to ensure our hospitals continue providing the critical care our communities expect and deserve. The increases in COVID-19 cases driven by the Omicron surge have forced our entire team to respond in ways we didn’t even no were possible. The mobile testing teams are one of many solutions to support our staff and hospitals in our mission to save lives. While we know the virus better and understand how to protect, treat and respond, the pandemic fatigue faced by every global community is a reality. We are grateful to every member of our emergency departments and hospitals for their courage and fortitude even in the face of the unprecedented demands.”
“Mobile testing teams provide another option for those seeking COVID tests in an already frenetic set of circumstances,” said SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University President Wayne J. Riley, M.D. “Working with NYC Health + Hospitals to make a Test & Trace team available at Downstate helps to minimize the impact on our Emergency Department while first responders take care of other patients’ needs. We will continue working to provide access and streamline the process to ensure testing for all who want it.”
“Having a testing center next to our Emergency Department has been an essential addition to our response to our communities in Bushwick and Ridgewood,” said Ramón Rodriguez, President and CEO of Wyckoff Heights Medical Center. “More than 50% of our arrivals to the ED have been infected with COVID, a substantial portion of our visits occur as well because they’ve not been able to get access to testing because other sites are oversubscribed. Easily, 15% of our visits can be tested without entering the ED to receive a test, but also have to enter through our triage system, when they can go home and rest. Both Woodhull Hospital and Wyckoff Heights Medical Center are the major healthcare systems for our communities and at this moment of crisis we need assistance from the City of New York and they’ve responded. On behalf of our Wyckoff team, we thank the Mayor and all who have provided this further access to testing.”
Providing mobile testing teams to hospitals offers critical relief for emergency departments—which are currently required to reserve 20% of emergency department patient visits for COVID-19 testing—and allows emergency healthcare workers to prioritize patients requiring acute and intensive care.
As of January 12, NYC Test & Trace has deployed mobile testing teams to support emergency departments at 28 private hospital facilities and the following NYC Health + Hospitals facilities:
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Bellevue
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Harlem
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Kings County
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Lincoln
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Metropolitan
- NYC Health + Hospitals/North Central Bronx
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens
- NYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull
Please visit NYC.gov/covidtest for a complete, up-to-date list of City-run testing sites to find a location that is most convenient and accessible for you.