Governor Hochul Announces More Than 70 Million Over-the-Counter COVID-19 Tests Distributed to New Yorkers in Recent Months
New York (STL.News) Governor Kathy Hochul announced that more than 70 million COVID-19 over-the-counter tests have been distributed to date by New York State as part of the administration’s ongoing efforts to keep New Yorkers protected throughout the pandemic. At-home rapid tests are being provided regularly to schools and nursing homes throughout the state, and the State recently distributed more than 2.8 million tests to elected officials to provide to the public at no cost. Out of an abundance of caution, the State has provided several thousand additional test kits as well as 59,000 high-quality face masks directly to counties in the Central New York region.
“As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, test kits are a critical tool in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent exposure to others,” Governor Hochul said. “I am proud to announce that today we have distributed more than 70 million over-the-counter COVID-19 tests to all New Yorkers, and I want to thank our dedicated state workers who are working day and night to fight this virus and keep our communities safe. We will continue to focus our efforts on distributing at-home tests and building up our stockpile so we can bolster our preparedness for the future and keep moving forward safely through this pandemic.”
While at-home testing continues to play an important role in identifying cases and curbing the spread of COVID, Governor Hochul and Commissioners Bassett and Bray are urging New Yorkers to get vaccinated and boosted as the best method of protection against COVID-19. The State’s free vaccine sites remain open and New Yorkers ages 50 and over are encouraged to get a second booster in accordance with the recently expanded CDC guidance.
Department of Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, “At-home COVID-19 testing is now widely available and provides real-time information regarding your COVID-19 status, particularly as we are seeing infections increase. People who test positive should isolate and, for those with symptoms, seek medical advice for treatment as soon as possible. We are making all of our prevention tools readily available. In addition to the vaccine and boosters, we have put millions of test kits into the hands of New Yorkers.”
Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services Commissioner Jackie Bray said, “Testing and vaccination continue to be the best way to protect you and your loved ones against COVID-19. It is incredibly important that we remain vigilant in the coming months and continue to get at-home tests into the hands of New Yorkers to help keep communities safe. We will continue assisting local governments and these important partnerships will help us get through this pandemic together.”
Since late December, 71,331,202 tests have been distributed throughout New York to schools, nursing homes and adult-care facilities, local governments and certain non-profits for wider distribution and, more recently, the New York City Housing Authority and various food banks. Governor Hochul previously announced more than 100 million at-home tests have been procured to-date, and more than 20 million of those tests will be distributed throughout the Spring to ensure New York’s communities are prepared to identify new cases and limit the spread of COVID-19.
Ahead of the Omicron surge in late 2021, Governor Hochul and her team identified the need to secure over-the-counter test kits to combat the Omicron surge, providing regular distributions to the general public, prioritizing schools and adult care facilities across the state.
Of the over 100 million tests procured, nearly 23 million tests have been stored to help prepare for any potential surges later this year.