New York's capacity to test for the novel coronavirus will greatly expand in the coming days to up to 6,000 tests by next week, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday said.
The capacity is expanding due to the approval of 28 private laboratories to test for the virus. At the same time, a drive-through testing location was established in New Rochelle, a hot spot for the virus in Westchester County.
New York now has more than 400 confirmed cases of the virus, more than any state in the nation.
The private lab testing was approved by the federal government as Cuomo sought to expand the capacity this week. New York so far has only been able to conduct 3,000 or so tests.
Expanding testing will lead to more positive cases -- a development health officials want in order to isolate those cases and prevent the spread of the virus.
The hospitalization rate stands at 50 people, about 12 percent -- a number state officials are closing watching amid the expectation the hospital capacity will have to expand in the coming weeks.
“If you don’t flatten that curve, that wave is a tsunami for the hospital system,” Cuomo said.
The state is also seeking retired nurses and doctors to contact their old employers in order to provide services.
Cuomo is also bracing New Yorkers for broader disruptions in their lives as the virus spreads and is fought.
“This is not going to be gone next week," Cuomo said. "This is months. So prepare yourself."