The NYC Test & Treat Corps, formerly the NYC Test & Trace Corps, today announced the program’s rebranding to reflect its priority to provide New Yorkers fast, convenient, reliable testing with direct connections to life-saving COVID-19 treatments. In furtherance of that effort, the NYC Test & Treat Corps also announced the expansion of the country’s first-ever mobile “Test to Treat” program to over 30 units, including units focused on providing care to homeless New Yorkers. These units provide immediate access to Paxlovid after a positive COVID-19 rapid test. The mobile treatment initiative is complemented by New York City’s 24/7 COVID-19 hotline, which New Yorkers can call after a positive at-home test to be prescribed Paxlovid and arrange for home delivery.
“We have more tools than ever before in our arsenal to fight this pandemic, including ready access to lifesaving treatments and at-home tests,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “Over the past few months, the NYC Test & Treat Corps has rapidly expanded access to both — distributing at-home tests for free at more than 1,200 locations across New York City, and opening over 30 of the nation’s first mobile Test to Treat locations. This update shows New Yorkers where our priorities lie — on rapidly giving them crucial information and life-saving treatment. We will continue to innovate and lead the way in prevention and mitigation to move our city safely forward.”
“The Test to Treat mobile units build on the Biden-Harris administration’s commitment to providing equitable access to free testing and treatments for COVID-19,” said Dr. Ashish Jha, the White House COVID-19 Response Coordinator. “In addition to brick-and-mortar sites providing services, these Test to Treat mobile units bring lifesaving treatments directly into the communities that need it most.”
“Test to Treat’s one-stop-shop model, providing tests, and allowing New Yorkers who test positive for COVID-19 to get the highly effective antiviral Paxlovid on the spot, is just the kind of innovation we need to stay on top of the virus in the City,” said HHS Regional Director Dr. Dara Kass. “As an Emergency Room physician, it’s clear that the sooner we can identify, isolate, and treat COVID-19, the more effectively we can save lives, and prevent the overburdening of health care systems. This type of partnership is one of many resources to help New Yorkers combat the virus and get back to normal.”
“The NYC Test & Trace Corps has done a tremendous job of providing New Yorkers with critical resources to safely isolate or quarantine, get tested and receive treatment and vaccinations,” said NYC Health + Hospitals President and CEO Mitchell Katz, MD. “Now it’s time to focus on the next phase of the pandemic as we learn to live with COVID-19. The NYC Test & Treat Corps will continue to help save lives by connecting New Yorkers with fast, reliable testing and effective, same-day treatment.”
“Treatment is the defining feature of this phase of the pandemic — the more New Yorkers we treat, the more people we prevent from having to be admitted to the hospital, and the more lives we can save,” said Dr. Ted Long, Executive Director of the NYC Test & Treat Corps and Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Care and Population Health, NYC Health + Hospitals. “The program’s new name, the NYC Test & Treat Corps, shows the critical focus we are placing on treatment to save lives. We not only have a 24/7 hotline you can call for same day delivery of Paxlovid to your home, but also the first-in-the-country mobile Test to Treat program where you can receive Paxlovid minutes after a positive test. These steps will protect New Yorkers from COVID-19 and lead our city safely forward.”
“The City is prioritizing getting treatment to New Yorkers as quickly and as easily as possible,” said New York City Health Commissioner Dr. Ashwin Vasan. “The Health Department is working hand in hand with the Test & Treat Corps to ensure New Yorkers have access to the life-saving tools they need.”
“This is a rebranding that we can all be excited about!” said Bronx Borough President Vanessa L. Gibson. “The NYC Test & Trace Corps’s change to NYC Test & Treat demonstrates the major gains we have made medically allowing those who test positive, immediate access to the anti-viral Paxlovid provided at any of the over 30 NYC Health + Hospitals designated sites where NYC Test & Treat mobile vans are stationed. I want to thank NYC Health + Hospitals for their work in keeping New Yorkers safe as we continue to combat COVID-19 in our city.”
“The New York City Test and Trace has proven proficient in reaching people in traditionally underserved neighborhoods, and now as ‘Test and Treat’ they will be better equipped to direct New Yorkers who test positive for COVID-19 to the potentially life-saving treatments they may require,” said New York City Council Member Mercedes Narcisse, District 46. “I particularly applaud the announcement of the over 30 mobile units which will provide immediate access to Paxlovid to those New Yorkers in need, including our vulnerable homeless population and help stop the spread of the virus in our communities.”
“Use of Paxlovid very effectively reduces the risk of severe outcomes with COVID-19, but it needs to be started within five days of symptom onset, and it is being underutilized, especially in people who are medically underserved,” said Dr. Peter Kilmarx, Deputy Director of the John E. Fogarty International Center of the National Institutes of Health. “The NYC COVID-19 Test & Treat Corps has made COVID-19 testing and Paxlovid treatment available to more New Yorkers, including those who are experiencing homelessness. Testing and treatment are the core pillars of the response to infectious diseases.”
“The one stop model of combining COVID-19 testing with treatment is a major step forward towards achieving equity and overcoming the stark disparity in access to critically-important treatment,” said Dr. Wafaa El-Sadr, Director of ICAP at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.
“Paxlovid has been proven to reduce the risk of hospitalization among older people and those with chronic medical conditions, who may be at risk for severe COVID,” said Dr. Celine Gounder, Infectious Disease Specialist and Epidemiologist at the NYU Grossman School of Medicine and Bellevue Hospital, Senior Fellow & Editor-at-Large for Public Health at KFF’s Kaiser Health News, member of the Biden-Harris Transition COVID Advisory Board and host of the “American Diagnosis” and “Epidemic” podcasts. “But too many people with COVID aren’t getting treated with Paxlovid. Mobile treatment units and community outreach are essential to getting Paxlovid to vulnerable populations.”
“In the beginning of the pandemic, NYC Test & Treat Corps became a leader in providing fast, free testing, contact tracing and supportive isolation and quarantine,” said Dr. Jay Varma, Director of the Cornell Center for Pandemic Prevention and Response and former Senior Advisor for Public Health for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Now, in the next phase of the pandemic, the Corps is creating the nation’s most extensive, customer friendly program to get New Yorkers fast diagnosis and treatment to prevent COVID-19 severe illness and death.”
New Yorkers who test positive at one of the over 30 mobile Test to Treat units will be offered the opportunity to engage with an onsite clinician and, if eligible, walk away with free Paxlovid anti-viral medication. The mobile Test to Treat program’s expansion includes units operated by the Street Health Outreach + Wellness (SHOW) program, a mobile health initiative focused on treating New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and those historically disconnected from care.
Test to Treat mobile units are currently deployed at the locations listed here. New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/covidtest to find the city-run testing site nearest and most suitable to them, including by filtering testing sites by Test to Treat, mobile testing or at-home test distribution locations.
When treatments became available in December 2021, the NYC Test & Treat Corps, in partnership with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH), acted quickly to build two pathways that expedite and ensure equitable access to these life-saving medicines. In addition to the mobile Test to Treat program, the city’s unique 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline, 212-COVID-19, provides New Yorkers who test positive — including those using an at-home test — an immediate connection to a clinician who can prescribe treatments. After a short assessment, these clinicians can refer patients to monoclonal antibody treatment or prescribe antiviral medications, like Paxlovid, and arrange to have it delivered to their home that same day.
The city’s COVID-19 Hotline, which utilizes NYC Health + Hospitals’ Virtual ExpressCare platform to connect patients to clinicians, has connected over 16,000 New Yorkers to Paxlovid, providing 12% of all Paxlovid prescriptions issued in New York City. Due in large part to the success of its hotline, the city recently partnered with the NYS Department of Health to provide a statewide treatment hotline for all New York state residents. Since the mobile Test to Treat program’s launch on June 30, Test to Treat’s staff have tested over 16,000 New Yorkers and have connected more than 750 immediately to Paxlovid.
These proactive measures have provided a national model for how to effectively distribute COVID-19 medications. A paper published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association recognized that the widespread, equitable distribution of COVID-19 treatments in New York City has driven its Paxlovid utilization rate as of late June 50% higher than the national rate. The study also found that the high utilization of Paxlovid has potentially resulted in signification reductions in the number of hospitalizations and intensive care unit admissions.
There are currently nearly 400 sites to access testing across New York City, including mobile units offering rapid and PCR testing, hospital PCR testing sites and at-home test distribution sites. Test & Treat will continue to work hand in hand with community partners to ensure testing deployments reach New Yorkers in neighborhoods most impacted by COVID-19 and to coordinate closely with DOHMH to make data-informed decisions.
Multiple COVID-19 treatments are available for people ages 12 and older and can be delivered to New Yorkers’ homes for free. For more information on COVID-19 treatments, please call 212-COVID19 and press 9 or visit nyc.gov/health/covidtreatments
New York City has worked to ensure that no one suffers from Long COVID in silence. Studies show that 10 to 15% of COVID-19 infections lead to Long COVID, a wide range of new, ongoing or returning symptoms patients may experience 28 days or more after their initial infection. The NYC Test & Treat Corps will continue to offer dedicated support for those with Long COVID, connecting them to physical and mental health resources, social services, financial assistance and treatment through its AfterCare program.
The AfterCare program has referred over 300,000 New Yorkers to resources to date, including physical and mental health services, financial assistance and community support. In addition, NYC Health + Hospitals’ three COVID-19 Centers of Excellence offer New Yorkers dedicated short- and long-term follow-up care for Long COVID, including pulmonary care, cardiological care, diagnostic radiology services, comprehensive mental health services and examination rooms with special technology to safely isolate patients who may have COVID-19.
If you or a loved one are suffering from or think you may have Long COVID, please call 212-COVID19 (212-268-4319), select your preferred language and press 4 to speak directly to an AfterCare navigator. Please visit the AfterCare website and review the Long COVID recovery guide for more information about Long COVID and the resources available to you.