New York will embark on an “aggressive” testing program to help determine the full scope of the coronavirus pandemic, a vital step as officials envision how to reopen the state’s economy, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced Sunday.
The program starts Monday with a 3,000-person random survey across the state to determine how many people have COVID-19 antibodies in their system, a sign they had the disease but have since recovered.
“We are going to do that in the most aggressive way in the nation. We are going to sample people in this state, thousands of people in this state, across the state to find out if they have the antibodies,” Cuomo said during a news conference at the Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research in Manhasset.
Participants in the random testing will be recruited at supermarkets in different regions.
Those who agree to take part will be asked to provide a fingerstick blood sample, which will then be processed at the state’s Wadsworth Labs using its IgG immunologic test. The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the state’s own antibody test, Cuomo said.
Medical experts have raised warnings about flawed antibody tests that have not received FDA approval but have come to the market. The FDA has allowed more than 90 companies to bring tests to the market without federal approval, citing the urgency of the pandemic, according to The New York Times. Some of the tests being used around the country have mistakenly shown the presence of antibodies in a person when they don’t exist.