New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed an executive order to allow an additional 5,000 pharmacies in the state to conduct diagnostic testing for COVID-19.
"We've boosted the lab capacity to an extent where we need more collection sites now."
This means independent pharmacies can join some of the larger, national chains that have already been testing people. Cuomo said the goal is to collect 40,000 diagnostic tests per day. Diagnostic tests show whether someone has the virus, whereas antibody tests show whether someone has been exposed to it.
New York's testing expansion comes as experts advise more testing be done for the country to get back to normal after the coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Anthony Fauci recently estimated the U.S. has been conducting roughly 2 million diagnostic tests per week. He suggested that number be doubled over the next few weeks.
On Saturday, Cuomo said New York opened up antibody testing for frontline health care workers at a few hospitals in New York City.
"Since we now have more collection sites, more testing capacity, we can open up the eligibility for those tests."
He also said the state will begin antibody testing for first responders, transit workers and other essential workers next week.