A national surge in COVID cases has coincided with agonizing delays for New Yorkers getting tested at free sites run by the city’s public hospitals network.
Patients and staff at some NYC Health + Hospitals sites describe waits far longer than the advertised “three to five days” — a lag that increases risk of potentially exposing others to the deadly coronavirus.
Chelsea Williams-Diggs, 27, got tested at a mobile H+H unit in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn, on July 6.
“I was told three days for results and have called twice to make sure there wasn’t an error,” she told THE CITY.
She says she was eventually told that results could take upwards of 10 days, but she was still waiting as of July 20.
One New Yorker who didn’t want his name used said he got tested at an H+H location in The Bronx on July 1 — but didn’t receive results on the system’s MyChart app until July 12.
He said he had quarantined nearly the entire time, but had to go to the grocery store when he ran out of food.
“I was hesitant to go, but needed supplies so I went because it had been so long,” the 31-year-old told THE CITY.
At an H+H testing site in Woodside, Queens, COVID-19 test results are now taking 10 to 14 days to come back, according to an employee who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
“If you’re at the 14-day mark, the test is invalid before you even get the result,” the employee noted.
“Because assuming nobody is 100% quarantining in those 14 days before receiving the result, it’s highly likely for them to be exposed and become infected.”