Governor Cuomo Signs Executive Order Authorizing Independent Pharmacists To Conduct COVID-19 Tests

New York State might be testing more people for COVID-19 than anywhere else in the world, but that hasn’t stopped Governor Andrew Cuomo from kicking that initiative into hyperdrive.

You might remember the results of the random antibody testing that took place earlier in the week, with a sample size of just 3,000. In his April 25 press briefing, Cuomo announced that the state had ramped that up to approximately 20,000 tests per day, with a stated goal, after meeting with President Donald Trump at the White House, of 40,000. Per the meeting in Washington, Cuomo noted that the deal would be that states were responsible for the laboratories where the tests would be processed, whereas the federal government would provide the assistance to national manufacturers needed to produce testing kits at scale (i.e. acquiring the hard-to-come-by chemical reagents and such).

In order to increase the testing capacity, Cuomo announced that he’d signed an executive order to authorize independent pharmacists—the mom-and-pop shops and nonnational chains—to conduct diagnostic COVID-19 tests, too (there are about 5,000 independent pharmacists across the state of New York, and Cuomo said he assumed most would make themselves available). By doing so, Cuomo argued, even more people, who may have been turned away from test sites during the early surge in cases, would be able to be tested for the virus now. He also emphasized that first responders, healthcare workers and employees deemed “essential” would get first dibs on the tests.

From a macro perspective, total hospitalizations are continuing to decline, and the number of new cases even dipped a little, day over day. And while the total number of reported deaths did increase slightly, from 422 on April 23 to 437 on April 24, the total is effectively flat.

New York State still leads all of the other states in the union with more than 275,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 20,000 deaths.

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