New York to distribute 20M at-home Covid tests statewide to prepare for potential surges

Posted On Fri, March 18, 2022 By

Posted On Fri, March 18, 2022 By In Policy

Image courtesy of Gerardo Romo/NYC Council Media Unit on Flickr

Gov. Kathy Hochul on Thursday announced New York will distribute more than 20 million over-the-counter Covid-19 tests to bolster New York’s ongoing preparation efforts and as virus cases rise in other parts of the world. The tests will be sent to nursing homes, adult care facilities, and schools across the state. Over 1.7 million tests will be reserved for NYCHA tenants, according to the governor. The state will also create new distribution points for tests and partner with local officials to improve public access to kits.

Schools outside of New York City will receive one million tests every other week until the end of the school year. The city no longer receives state-distributed test kits, as the city has enough test kits to get them through the year.

“As we’ve seen throughout the pandemic, test kits are a critical tool in the fight to stop the spread of COVID-19 and prevent exposure to others,” Hochul said in a statement. “While our numbers remain low, now is the time to ramp up the distribution of tests and build up our stockpile so we can bolster our preparedness for the future to protect our communities, and safely move forward through this pandemic.”

More than 54 million tests have been distributed in New York since the beginning of 2022, according to Hochul’s office. About 30 million have gone to schools, 12.5 million to nursing homes and adult care facilities, and more than 10 million to local officials for distribution in their communities.

Of the more than 90 million tests acquired by the state, about 20 million have been stored to help prepare for any potential surges.

“By shipping tests to some of our highest-risk populations, Governor Hochul is helping to ensure the most vulnerable New Yorkers have continued access to the tools to stay healthy,” Mayor Eric Adams said.

“These additional tests will supplement the hundreds of thousands of test kits the city has distributed, keeping New York City safe and helping us fully re-open. Partnering with all levels of government is a critical part of our pandemic readiness and I’m grateful to the governor for her continued partnership.”

Last month, the NYC Test & Trace Corps partnered with cultural sites and public libraries around the city to distribute free at-home Covid-19 tests on a first-come, first-serve basis. In January, the city began offering free, same-day delivery of antiviral pills to help combat Covid-19 symptoms for those that have tested positive for the virus.

After New York saw a record number of new daily cases in January, the seven-day average positivity statewide has remained under 2 percent for the past two weeks, according to the state.

New Yorkers can also order more free Covid tests from the government. President Joe Biden announced earlier this month the second round of free at-home tests can be ordered at If you ordered four tests in January, you can order four more.


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