The Importance of Getting All New Yorkers Tested

Get Tested Tuesday Day of Action in Flushing, Queens on August 18. Photo: Antoni Tenecela

In order for New York City to be able to fully recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, all New Yorkers need to get tested. An accurate number of how many people have contracted the coronavirus will make it easier to trace throughout the five boroughs, and eventually stop the spread completely.

As a member of the NYC Test & Trace Corps, CIANA’s ties to immigrant communities across Queens have enabled us to join citywide efforts to get communities tested; on August 7, our outreach team went to Corona, Queens, and on August 18, the team went to Long Island City and Flushing, distributing information about the importance of getting tested and how to stay safe and healthy.

One of the biggest challenges that New York faced earlier in the pandemic, and that much of the United States is still struggling with, is the lack of sufficient COVID testing. For a while, due to lack of sufficient resources, only those showing symptoms of COVID-19 were allowed to be tested.

But doctors have since stated emphatically that the coronavirus can spread asymptomatically, and that one can carry and transmit the virus for up to two weeks without showing symptoms. Testing everybody, including and especially those who show no symptoms, will narrow down who needs to self-isolate so as to avoid infecting people they come across, particularly the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions, who are more at risk of developing COVID-related complications.

Immigrant communities throughout Queens have been disproportionately hit by COVID-19 for a variety of reasons. Increased testing in these areas will ensure that residents know to take the proper precautions to stop the spread, and eventually help their neighborhoods recover from the pandemic.

Over the next few months, CIANA will be going throughout Queens to spread the word. Testing all New Yorkers as quickly as possible for COVID-19 will put New York on the road to a full recovery and reopening.

Some quick facts about COVID testing:

  • You do NOT need health insurance to get tested

  • Testing is safe, quick, and easy, and can be completed by an oral or nasal swab

  • You don't need a special reason to get tested, but testing is highly recommended if you've potentially been exposed to the virus or have been in a large crowd