31 CityMDs temporarily close, NY opens 13 more COVID testing sites

Coronavirus update for NYC

ByEyewitness News via WABC logo
Thursday, December 30, 2021
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CeFaan Kim has the latest on the omicron surge's impact on New York.

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- As New Yorkers flock to get tested for COVID-19 amid the omicron surge, new state testing sites are opening across the area.

Thirteen new New York state-run testing sites opened Wednesday, at least one in every borough of New York City.

It's part of a larger plan to increase testing in preparation of students returning to schools next week, and it is especially necessary since 31 CityMD sites have temporarily closed due to staffing shortages.

New York set another daily record with 67,090 positive tests Tuesday, Governor Kathy Hochul said, out of about 362,000 tests. The state's prior daily test record was 49,708, reported on December 24, and she said it's a sign of things to come.

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"We are basically preparing for a January surge," she said. "We know it's coming, and we are nave to think it won't."

Citing holiday travel and family gatherings, she said she expects a spike in hospitalizations, as well.

"If you could avoid the gathering indoors with people that aren't part of your immediate family, this would be the year to do that," she said.

Jamaica has one of the highest COVID rates in Queens, with one out of every six residents now having been diagnosed -- which is why the new testing site was so critical, especially with school starting back on Monday.

The school plan includes doubling testing and keeping classrooms with positive cases open. They will also give everyone in the class a COVID test to take at home. If they test negative, students can return immediately.

"We want to institute fully a 'test to stay' program," Hochul said. "What that does is to make sure you have the test to take home with the children. Put them in the backpack if someone tests positive in the class."

MORE: Current Covid-19 NYC Hospitalizations

There are now 31 CityMD locations temporarily closed due to a staff shortage, a major hit to the number of COVID testing sites amid a surge in demand.

Just a week ago, the company announced that 19 of its urgent care clinics would be temporarily closing.

Now, it appears that number has ballooned as CityMD continues to struggle to staff its sites.

The temporarily closed locations include 20 across New York City, five in New Jersey, four on Long Island and two in Westchester County.

A full list is available here.

CityMD said on its website it hopes closing these sites now will help it to avoid closing other sites in the future.

Meanwhile, as the rush to get tested continues, Westchester County is reopening the County Center in White Plains for free PCR testing.

On Long Island, Suffolk County is opening the first of three new community testing sites at Hecksher State Park in East Islip. Two more sites will open next week.

ALSO READ | Long Island's Paws of War saves 3 dogs set to be euthanized after military cuts

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