New York, May 15 (IANS) New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said that any person with COVID-19 symptoms was now eligible for a test, as the city was trying to reach its daily goal of testing 20,000 people.
In addition, contacts of COVID-19 patients and workers in gathering places, such as homeless shelters and detention centres, can receive the test, Xinhua news agency quoted the Mayor as saying at his daily press briefing on Thursday.
“Lack of widespread testing was our Achilles’ heel from day one,” de Blasio said, adding: “We’re still playing catch-up, and unfortunately that’s because the help we needed from the federal government never was there in the beginning, still isn’t here, but we do not let that stop us.”
More medical workers and personal protective equipment can be spared from hospitals to testing sites, said the Myor, expressing his confidence in achieving the daily goal of testing 20,000 people by May 25, when 12 additional testing sites will be added across all five boroughs.
In a CNN interview also on Thursday, the Mayor said that the city’s reopening needed to be “slow and steady” and “very careful”.
“It’s about health and safety first. It’s about avoiding that boomerang where the disease re-asserts, which will be the worst of all worlds,” he said.
Reiterating his call for more funding from the federal government, the Mayor said that the city spent $7 billion paying for police, teachers, health care workers and other frontline heroes during the first few weeks of the outbreak.
“Right now, if we don’t get a massive infusion of federal support, we cannot go through this recovery. We cannot get our city back on our feet because we won’t be able to pay for the basics,” he noted.
The city was still around halfway towards meeting all seven benchmarks for reopening, which were set by the state government.
Five regions in central and northern New York state, the epicentre of the COVID-19 pandemic in the US, will restart their economy on Friday night when the “PAUSE” order expires.
Several types of businesses, including construction, manufacturing, agriculture, forestry and fishing, will be allowed to operate in the first stage of reopening.
So far, the city has reported over 186,000 COVID-19cases and more than 15,300 confirmed deaths.