Thousands of New Yorkers are currently attempting to get tested, for general safety but especially before the holidays as well.
And though the city has promised to expand efforts, the reality is that many New Yorkers having been having a lot of trouble getting tested…mainly from overly crowded testing sites.
Here are some helpful tips and ideas we’ve seen shared by the city and on social media that may help you get tested more easily. Stay safe out there!
1. Check NYC Health + Hospital locations, not just CityMD
Though you’ve probably seen insanely long testing lines circling the block all over social media (or experienced them for yourself), lots of these are at CityMD or other urgent care facilities. It’s a good time to remember these aren’t the only options in NYC. The city’s own Health + Hospitals system has their own locations for testing, which may be a lot more accessible at this time than privately-owned options.
Currently there are 89 city-run sites, including both brick & mortar and mobile testing options, with 23 more coming this week (as promised by Mayor de Blasio).
There’s also an Express PCR option, which can get results to you in 24 hours, but appointments are needed. Find out more here.
2. Refer to wait times before you leave
Speaking of Health + Hospital locations, the city has also created a waitlist time generator for its locations, so you can choose a location that has a lesser wait time than another.
You can find the current wait times at H+H testing locations directly here. It is updated by staff every two hours.
3. Use social media to find out where lines are more manageable
There’s also the more crowd-sourced option, IE: Twitter. You can find a few different threads, like the one below, that show where people have had good experiences getting tested to make yours better.
Lines for covid testing in NYC today are already stretching around the block.
If you know of a place with a relatively short wait please post below.
— Mark D. Levine (@MarkLevineNYC) December 19, 2021
A Twitter search of “NYC testing sites” can also get your more updated scenarios.
4. Try LABQ or one of the testing “tents”
Though not city-run, pop-up testing sites can be seen around the city in sidewalk tents, and many New Yorkers report much shorter lines (if any) and quick results. One of the main ones is LABQ, and you can find all the exact locations on their website here.
If you’re in NYC, use LabQ or Fast Lab for free testing with no line. Those are just the ones I’ve tried but there are probably more. Don’t even bother with CityMD right now. https://t.co/1tlH0IX3Ez
— abbie (@AbbieAwsm) December 19, 2021
Remember, COVID-19 testing should be free, as covered by your insurance or under the federal CARES Act.
5. Book an at-home testing visit
There are also some third party companies who will actually come to your apartment to conduct a COVID-19 test for you.
This is another we’ve seen people talking about on social media — particularly one called Beeper MD. You can book and appointment through them and one of their professionals will come right to you. You can get a PCR test with results in 36 to 48 hours, or a rapid antigen test with results in five minutes, all free covered by insurance or the U.S. Gov. Here’s how it works:
- You schedule your appointment at a time convenient for you.
- At the designated time, our medical staff will arrive at your home.
- BeeperMD will see attend to all of the people scheduled for an appointment.
- Each test takes less than 5 minutes & the entire visit is fast and easy.
- – For COVID PCR tests, you’ll receive the results directly in your email’s inbox within 36 hours.
– For Rapid Antigen, Antibody, RSV, Flu and Strep testing, you will receive the results immediately. Also, you will receive your official test results via email the same day.
*Note: some people have had trouble with cancellations as more testing efforts have ramped up.
Some other companies that do this include: Dispatch Health.
6. Try a take-home test you administer yourself
If there is a long line at a city-run testing center (30+ min.), the city will actually give out free at-home tests to those on line so you can do it yourself at home instead (or you can ask for them). The city will also be distributing an additional 500,000 at-home tests to community organizations for those in hard-to-reach areas of the city.
You can also try to purchase over-the-counter versions for yourself, though they are a lot harder to find right now as everyone rushes to get tested. Most drugstores like CVS and Walgreens/Duane Reade sell them, but just note that many are out of stock.
You can check if they are available for purchase at a location near you on their websites (see here for CVS and here for Walgreens). You, of course, do have to pay for these (most are up to $25), and their accuracy can be questionable in certain situations.
This article also shares where you can find FDA-approved at-home tests online.