Shots, tests, shots, tests. That is the equation that Mayor Bill de Blasio repeated ad nauseam this Wednesday, as the most effective formula that New York City has to face the current crisis of the rapid increase in COVID-19 infections caused by the Omicron variant , which In the most recent report of 7 consecutive days, 11,000 new infections were confirmed.

At his daily press conference, De Blasio announced the opening of eight additional testing sites across the Big Apple this Thursday, bringing the total number of City-run centers to 119 .

“In addition to this, starting tomorrow we will have five mobile centers of the City distributing rapid tests to be done at home,” said De Blasio , who assured that 180,000 daily COVID-19 tests were currently being carried out at the sites he manages. its Administration.

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The Mayor assured that, fortunately, in “many of those places there are not long lines, and they are very good at giving you a quick response to the results, so you have to focus on that.”

Meanwhile, the president of the H + H Public Hospitals Corporation (Health + Hospital), Mitchell Katz , reported the expansion of the hours of the test sites that operate in the 11 hospitals of the City, which will now be open from 7 am at 7 pm

“We have been able to do that by going virtual for our outpatient visits, so now we can have nurses and other staff working in our clinics, available to testing areas so that they are much faster. We have also purchased a sufficient number of home test kits that you can hand out to people who are comfortable going home and do the tests themselves, ”explained Dr. Katz.

In addition to efforts at the local level, New York authorities also reported the opening very soon of the first vaccination centers run by the federal government.

And to get more help from Washington, de Blasio was joined by New York Senator Charles Shummer , who promised to raise additional funding for FEMA to open hundreds of testing centers across the five boroughs.

“I send a letter to FEMA today, asking for hundreds of new mobile test locations . We need these locations throughout the city. Now, today they said they are sending six, that is not enough, given the magnitude of the crisis and what we need, “said the senator, adding that he asked the federal government,” two or three weeks ago, in one of my small Sunday press conferences, to do this now that COVID is very strong. The variant is very aggressive. We need these mobile testing sites now, because testing is one of the best ways to beat this virus. ”

They welcome federal aid

And as New York City continues to fight the rise in Omicron cases , the NYC Test & Trace Corps this Wednesday welcomed the first deployment of the Increasing Community Access to Testing Team’s mobile test units ( ICATT) of the CDC.

By next week, these units will provide an additional 25,000 PCR tests per week to communities most in need of convenient testing at no cost. The ‘Test & Trace’ indicated that the additional testing capacity will help the City continue to meet the demand for testing, which had reached record levels of more than 150,000 per day as of the beginning of this week.

“The deployment of additional units will provide even greater access to convenient and cost-free testing for New Yorkers seeking the well-being of their family, friends and neighbors by undergoing tests to break the chains of transmission and stop the spread of COVID-19. Together with our federal partners, we will continue to keep New York City safe and defeat this latest wave, ”said Dr. Ted Long, Executive Director of the NYC Test & Trace Corps.

The announcement of more places for testing occurs precisely on the day that ‘CITYMD’, the private clinics that are used by thousands of New Yorkers to get tested and where long lines have been seen in recent days, announced on his Twitter account It had to temporarily close 13 places due to lack of personnel, although it assured that this should not affect its operations since they have 150 clinics.

Hospital visits suspended

Another measure the City is taking to stop Ómicron’s advance was to suspend visits to public hospitals and the Rikers Island jail.

In of the 11 H + H hospitals, visits will now be prohibited and only allowed in certain special situations: pregnant women who are going to give birth, terminal patients and children in intensive care units and patients with disabilities.

In addition, hospital employees will be given the discretion to allow some visits, when they consider that they are essential for the patient’s health, although the number of visitors will be limited, and now only people who have received a negative COVID test will be allowed to enter. -19 in the last 24 hours and that they are not ‘full’ vaccinated.

Other private hospital systems such as Mount Sinai and NewYork-Presbyterian also announced changes in their visitation policies on Wednesday, and although they are not limiting them now, they will only allow the entry of fully vaccinated people.

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