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COVID Testing In NYC: New Yorkers Waiting In Long Lines At Urgent Care Centers Across City

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As COVID cases continue to rise, Mayor Bill de Blasio is encouraging more people to get tested, but many people expressed concerns with long lines at testing sites.

On a cold Wednesday, people bundled up in line at a Brooklyn CityMD stretching down Fulton Street and around the corner.

Clinton Hill resident Haley Siegel took a video of the line, frustrated by the hours-long wait.

"Kind of in shock that we're in this place again, now that we have more information. We know the importance of testing," she told CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis.

RELATED STORY -- NYC Sees Long Lines At Some COVID Testing Sites As Cases Keep Climbing

She then went to ModernMD and was put in a virtual line. She waited at home, making it to the front of the line seven hours later.

"They're not making getting tested feasible, especially if you're working or you're confined to a schedule," Siegel said. "I think that we need to do better."


CBS2 went straight to the mayor for answers.

"What is your recommendation to those who are facing this issue?" DeAngelis asked.

"Turn to our Health and Hospitals sites. Just by calling 311, you can find the site near you," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "They generally have not had longer lines. They have had very fast turnaround with results."

CBS2 checked out Harlem Hospital and didn't see any lines, and there were only about a dozen people at Gotham Health in the Bronx.

But CityMD in Manhattan remains swamped.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text COVID to 692692 | NJ COVID-19 Info Hub | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 or 211, Text NJCOVID to 898211 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211 | Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"For those who don't live near a Health and Hospitals site and they think they've been exposed or they have symptoms, are they supposed to stay home and order an at-home test, stay local and wait in the lines, or take the train to another location?" DeAngelis asked.

"These are very important questions, I just want to pull out, particularly you are talking about people who are experiencing symptoms, those are absolutely the most important people we want to get tested, to get tested quickly so that we can take steps to make sure they isolate. That helps us break the chains of transmission, understand who their close contacts were so they can also quarantine. So, to your specific question itself, they should find the closest site to them from any of those resources that I've mentioned, if they do have to take public transportation to get there, they should of course make sure they are wearing a face covering to and from that, but the most important thing is to get tested very soon once you're experiencing symptoms," NYC Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said.

RELATED STORY -- Coronavirus: Unless Something Dramatic Happens Quickly, New York City Staring At Orange Zone Status Soon

The city has about 250 testing sites, serving 50,000 or more people a day.

But people like Siegel hope more sites are available soon.


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