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NY to deploy COVID-19 rapid test kits to local governments, hospitals upon request


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NY to deploy COVID-19 rapid test kits to local governments, hospitals upon request 1

ALBANY — The New York State Department of Health will provide 400,000 COVID-19 rapid test kits to local governments, hospitals and other health care providers across the state, Gov. Cuomo announced Friday.

The agency is prioritizing so-called hotspot cluster zones — neighborhoods experiencing upticks in COVID-19 infection rates — including parts of Brooklyn and Queens, as well as Rockland, Orange and Broome counties.

Local governments must request the test kits, which can produce results within 15 minutes without the use of a lab.

“These rapid test kits will allow health care institutions throughout the state to quickly and accurately determine COVID-19’s spread, control outbreaks and keep families and communities safe,” Cuomo said in a statement.

“Further, the state is taking precautionary steps to ensure localities are providing rapid testing for schools that are nearby communities that have seen recent upticks in cases and are offering in-person instruction.

“We will provide rapid test kits, as needed, free of charge to all localities to help them meet this new requirement, giving parents, teachers, and students confidence in the safety of their educational experiences.”

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Local governments must submit requests for the kits, according to the DOH.

Officials said public and private schools located in “yellow” zones may also request tests on an “as needed basis” to facilitate compliance with new DOH testing requirements mandating 20 percent of students, teachers and staffers to be tested once a week starting Friday, Oct. 16.

Yellow zones are the least restrictive of the cluster containment zones announced by the governor on Tuesday.

More restrictive are “orange” and “red” designations that limit the ability to attend large gatherings in religious institutions and non-essential businesses.

The state recorded a 1.1 percent statewide infection rate as of midnight, which reflects targeted and increased testing efforts in hotspot zones.

Hotspots independently recorded a cumulative positive infection rate of 5.4 percent.

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