COVID-19 testing

Sunday, January 16, 2022


Regular testing continues to be recommended for unvaccinated people. It may also be required in specific situations, even for vaccinated people.

Testing is free to all eligible New Yorkers as ordered by a health care provider or by calling the NYS COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065.

All New Yorkers, get tested! Immigration status will not be asked and COVID-19 testing and care services are not a public benefit under the public charge rule. 

NYC Test & Trace website, testing wait times and more The Test & Trace program, Test, trace and take care, can also advise on resources available for people who have covid and must quarantine or isolate.

NYC COVID-19 Testing Sites or text "COVID TEST" to 855-48
Bellevue Hospital is the nearest New York State Health+Hospitals testing site, 462 First Avenue. 9am – 4pm, M-F. 212-562-5555. No appointment necessary. Wait times are unpredictable. Be sure to get your Patient Portal account set up so that you can get your results. If you do not get your results in 1-3 days, call and ask to speak with a clinician, who can check your file.

Other sites (some are experiencing long waits for results):

  • Mount Sinai Doctors, 55 East 34th Street, New York, NY 10016, 212-252-6000. [Reguires appointment and referral from a doctor in their practice.] Also offers rapid testing. 
  • Midtown New York Doctors Walk-In Urgent Care, 205 Lexington Ave, New York, NY 10016, 212-684-4700. 
  • New York University Langone Tisch Hospital, 570 1st Ave, New York, NY 10016, 212-263-6906.
  • N.Y.U.Langone-Manhatten, 550 First Avenue, Ground Floor, Manhatten, NY 10016, 646-987-3525.
  • 330 West 42nd Street (call 311 for additional information)
  • 919 2nd Avenue (call 311 for additional information)
  • Pharmacies and your personal doctor also may do COVID-19 testing, check if there will be charges.
  • Healthsource pharmacy offers rapid and PCR testing, 120 East 34th Street, 212-481-6600. 

In-Home Testing for Immunocompromised New Yorkers and Those Ages 65 and Older
Those who are 65 and older or are immunocompromised can schedule a free at-home COVID test (rapid or PCR or both). You can find more information about the program at Appointments for at-home testing are available seven days per week, from 9am – 7pm. New Yorkers may schedule an appointment by calling 929-298-9400. Please answer your phone if you make an appointment. Testers will want to confirm the appointment, and their phone number may not indicate that they are testers calling.

FDA approved at-home test kits

White House announces website to order free at-home COVID-19 tests

Free rapid COVID-19 virus test at multiple COVID Express sites are available throughout the city by appointment. Test results will be available within 24 hours or less of your visit. This means that most patients will receive their test results on the same day as their visit. COVID-19 tests performed at COVID Express sites will be free to all New Yorkers, regardless of immigration status. The nearest site is in Chelsea at 303 9th Avenue.

New York Forward Rapid Test Program to Help Businesses Reopen Safely
New York Forward Rapid Test Program  is a new initiative recently announced by the state to help businesses safely reopen. This unique public-private partnership is making convenient low-cost rapid testing more available to the public to support enhanced economic activity as the State continues to reopen. Eleven initial sites are now open in New York City offering rapid COVID-19 tests to the general public for no more than $30, and additional sites are scheduled to open in New York City and other parts of the state in the coming weeks. Find testing sites near you.

The New York State webpage for COVID-19 Testing

COVID-19 diagnostic test involves a swab and determines whether you currently have the virus. This is the kind of testing you would take if you have been in contact with people who have the virus.

COVID-19 antibody testing. The antibody test involves providing a blood sample and determines whether you have COVID-19 antibodies in your system. If you do have antibodies, you have the possibility to donate plasma to help treat other people who currently have more severe cases of the virus, but it does not indicate that you are immune from contracting the virus again.

If you have questions about when to obtain a diagnostic or antibody test, which test you should take, or other medically-related questions, please speak with your doctor or an urgent care center. You can also call the New York hotline that was established for New Yorkers who have high priority due to age, pre-existing conditions and symptoms, 1-844-NYC-4NYC, the 24-hour state hotline at 1-888-364-3065, or 311.

5/31/2020 COVID-19 Test sites (also your doctor, CityMD, CVS (selected locations), Community Testing Sites Some employers have test kits to do testing onsite. COVID-19 Testing Sites for High Risk

Find a test site near you

You Don’t Need Invasive Tech for Successful Contact Tracing. Here’s How It Works.
May 19, 2020,, by Caroline Chen
When a patient gets a coronavirus test, the lab reports the results back not only to the patient’s doctor, but also to the local health department. A contact tracer is assigned to the case and will call the person to ask about symptoms, to take down information about people the patient has been in close contact with recently, and to help draw up a plan for isolation, which could entail figuring out how to get groceries or medications delivered...Current guidance by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends patients who test positive isolate themselves...A contact will be told when they were exposed, but never who it was that exposed them to the virus; the health department keeps that information anonymous...The CDC defines a close contact as someone who was within 6 feet of an infected person for at least 15 minutes, starting two days before the infected person began experiencing symptoms...the CDC definition of a close contact presumes that people are not wearing masks.

Excelsior Pass is a free and voluntary platform for businesses and individuals that can be used to show secure proof
of a recent negative COVID test or vaccination. There are currently three different types of passes: COVID-19 Vaccination Pass, COVID-19 PCR Test Pass and COVID-19 Antigen Test Pass. To retrieve a Pass, visit the Excelsior Pass website at You will need to provide some basic personal information, including your first and last name, date of birth and zip code. You'll also need to verify your identity with three "challenge questions" whose answers are unique to you. Because we do not save or store your personal information, you will need to enter this information every time you retrieve a new pass. Once you’ve retrieved your Pass, you can print it, save a screenshot, or save it in the Excelsior Pass Wallet mobile app for easy access later. The Excelsior Pass Wallet app is available for free from the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. Learn more and download the pass at The COVID-19 Vaccination Pass is currently valid for 30 days after the Pass is retrieved. After the pass expires, you can retrieve a new pass from the Excelsior Pass website at

9/17/2020 NYC Opens Its Own Coronavirus Testing Lab
September 17, 2020,, by Matt Troutman
The city-run Pandemic Response Lab will be able to conduct 20,000 daily tests by November with results in 24 to 48 hours, officials said...its location in the Alexandria Center for Life Science in Manhattan. [The Alexandria Center® for Life Science is New York City’s first and only commercial life science campus. Alexandria LaunchLabs is the premier startup platform for early-stage life science and agtech companies. Alexandria LaunchLabs provides move-in-ready office/laboratory space, shared equipment and services, creative amenities, access to startup capital through the Alexandria Seed Capital Platform,, 430 East 29th Street.]

4/25/2020 Eight of the ten acute care "assessment and testing” centers at NYC Health + Hospitals are now open on an appointment-only basis, including H+H/Bellevue. New Yorkers who have high priority because of age, pre-existing conditions and symptoms, call 1-844-NYC-4NYC for more information. New Yorkers can continue to call 311 to be assessed for risk for COVID. 

4/25/2020 Gov. Cuomo announced programs to expand testing. Diagnostic testing: pharmacies will be allowed to collect the samples. Then they send the samples to the state labs. Pharmacies will decide if they will participate in the program. Antibody testing: several hospitals will be able to do it, including Bellevue. Front line workers will have priority. NOTE: We still don't know if having coronavirus gives immunity, or if it does, for how long.

4/30/2020 Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg is putting together the test and trace program needed to open New York State (and City). Mayor de Blasio is also working with Bloomberg on test and trace. 

5/8/2020 New York City Health + Hospitals will be leading the city’s new contact tracing program. 

Test, trace & take care (T3)

The City’s Test & Trace Corps is the City’s comprehensive effort to test, trace, and treat every case of COVID-19. Through a partnership between the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and NYC Health + Hospitals, the Corps allows the City to immediately isolate and care for those who test positive for the virus, and then rapidly track, assess, and quarantine anyone they came into contact with who they may have infected. Additional information, including program metrics and progress to-date, is available at

Coronavirus testing

Gov. Cuomo urged virtually all New Yorkers to get tested for the coronavirus. With more than 760 testing sites now operating across the state, he said, many sites have more capacity for testing than is being used. The advice for wide categories of people to get tested – those with symptoms, essential workers, people who tested negative a month ago but may have been exposed since. [Source: 5/23/2020, City & State Coronavirus Update email]


COVID-19 diagnostic testing centers in New York City. If you are protesting, please be safe, wear a mask, and get tested! Remember, testing is FREE and available. Free testing in Murray Hill and nearby:

CareMount Medical
Appointment required, Referral required, Testing for all patients
Verify testing center info before going.
Address: 317 E 34th St, New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 726-7400 

Tisch Hospital
Appointment required, Referral required, Testing for all patients
Located in: NYU Langone Health
Address: 550 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10016
Phone: (212) 263-5800 

NYC Health + Hospitals / Bellevue
Appointment not required, Referral not required, Testing for all patients
Phone: (212) 562-4141
Address: 462 1st Avenue, New York, NY 10016 

MedRite Urgent Care
Appointment not required, Referral required, Testing for all patients
Verify testing center info before going.
Address: 919 2nd Ave, New York, NY 10017
Hours: Open ⋅ Closes 10PM 

ProHEALTH Urgent Care of Gramercy Park
Appointment not required, Referral required, Testing for all patients
Address: 291 3rd Ave, New York, NY 10010
Hours:  Closed ⋅ Opens 8AM Tue
Phone: (646) 609-3403

Contact tracing

5/22/2020 Gov. Cuomo announced that people should look for calls from "NYS Contact Tracing" and answer these calls. If you see a call fro 212-540-xxxx or 212-242-xxxx PLEASE pick up to help stop the spread! Visit TestandTrace.NYC for more information.

What to expect if a Contact Tracer calls you. In the event that you test positive for COVID-19 or you have come into contact with someone who has the virus, you will be contacted by a tracer trained by Department of Health officials. Contract tracers will likely identify themselves as a member of the city’s Test and Trace Corps or New York City Health and Hospitals. Tracers will then ask you for a list of all of the people, including those you live with, that you have had close contact with in the last 14 days. This doesn't mean people you passed on the street or in the subway - we're talking about prolonged contact. Contact tracers will not ask for private information, like a social security number, health insurance or other personal information. All information shared will be strictly confidential. It's important to remember that contact tracing is essential in stopping outbreaks, and it will be crucial to planning our reopening. Tracers will then reach out to the people you had contact with, and advise them to self isolate. However, no officials will inform those people who the COVID-19 positive individual they were in contact was. As part of the city's

Test, Trace, and Take Care program, tracers will also ask you if you have access to food, healthcare, medicine, housing, and other essential services. In the event that you need these services, you will be connected with a resource navigator. [Source: Councilwoman Carlina Rivera's email of May 29, 2020]

The mayor said on May 28 that the city will have 1,700 contact tracers deployed by June 1 to track potential coronavirus exposure. Over 180 testing locations will be open by the end of June, with a goal of conducting 50,000 tests per day by August 1.

The Contact Tracing Tool form shows the kind of questions you should be asked:

Information on Test & Trace Corps

Contact Tracers are being trained and will have their first field training around May 24.

Take care

The NYC Test & Trace Corps will deploy Resource Navigators in every community by June 1. Contact Tracers will make a hand-off to Resource Navigators to connect anyone isolating at home with food, medication, phone, toiletries, and mental health resources.

For people who cannot safely separate at home, the city is offering free hotel rooms with a referral from a doctor, nurse, or physician's assistant. The city currently has 1,200 hotel rooms available with the goal of 3,000 rooms by late summer.


6/5/2020 The FDA issued a video explaining the differences between diagnostic testing and antibody testing, which is mainly that diagnostic tests can tell if the tested person is currently infected, and antibody testing detects if a person’s blood contains antibodies to the virus.

5/26/2020 CDC guidance: Interim Guidelines for COVID-19 Antibody Testing.


How countries are using genomics to help avoid a second coronavirus wave
May 27, 2020,, by Clare Watson
As many countries emerge from lockdowns, researchers are poised to use genome sequencing to avoid an expected second wave of COVID-19 infections...As SARS-CoV-2 spread around the world, distinct lineages began to form as viruses circulating in different regions gradually evolved...[In Australia] The sequence data has helped resolve the true source of exposure for a health-care worker, proving that they contracted the virus at a social event and not from a patient in hospital. “Without genomics, and only interviewing, you would never be able to tell which one it was”...The information prevented the need for an investigation into a possible outbreak at the hospital, he says...Genomic surveillance also relies on widespread diagnostic testing to capture sequences in the first place.