NYC launches free antibody testing for first responders

Mayor Bill de Blasio said "the whole FDNY family" will be the first to receive the tests


Sydney Kashiwagi
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

NEW YORK — Free coronavirus antibody testing for first responders launched Monday after weeks of delay.

The city plans to test 140,000 health care workers and first responders for four weeks as part of a partnership with the federal government.

A nurse places a blood specimen in a bag during a COVID-19 antibody test at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Thursday, May 14, 2020, in the Harlem neighborhood of the Manhattan. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of free antibody testing for first responders and healthcare personnel across the city, with FDNY and medical examiner's office staff planned to receive the first tests. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)
A nurse places a blood specimen in a bag during a COVID-19 antibody test at the Abyssinian Baptist Church, Thursday, May 14, 2020, in the Harlem neighborhood of the Manhattan. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of free antibody testing for first responders and healthcare personnel across the city, with FDNY and medical examiner's office staff planned to receive the first tests. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer)

The testing will be available at hospitals, firehouses, police stations and corrections facilities.

The latest testing is part of a city initiative to test 280,000 New Yorkers for antibodies through June.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the testing in late April and said it was set to launch in early May, however, the antibody testing did not begin until Monday.

“It’s part of a bigger study to help us learn how to fight this disease better. So, 140,000 of our heroes will get tested. It's voluntary, it's up to each of you, first responders, health care workers. If you want it, it's there for you,” de Blasio told reporters at a press conference Monday.

“It will start with FDNY, with EMTs, paramedics, firefighters, the whole FDNY family. Anyone is welcome to participate. Testers will go to your work sites. Same with the [Office of the Medical Examiner’s] staff … those will be the first agencies reached,” he said,

The city also opened an antibody test site at St. John’s Villa Academy, which is part of a testing site where the city is trying to test another 140,000 New Yorkers by early June.

The St. John’s Villa Academy site and others across the city are open to the general public, though people who live near the sites will be prioritized for testing.

Health care workers and first responders interested in getting tested can sign up at FirstSeroSurveyNYC.com or text “TestNYC” to 78378.

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©2020 Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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