White Plains doctor breaks down process of coronavirus testing, issues facing hospitals

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A White Plains doctor is breaking down how the process of testing for coronavirus works and the issues they are up against.

White Plains Hospital emergency room Dr. Erik Larsen says they first ask patients their location, where they traveled to recently and if they have had any contact with someone who has tested positive for coronavirus or is on quarantine.

Larsen says those who are considered a higher risk to have the coronavirus will get their nasal cavity swabbed.

He says not everyone can be tested, but it’s not because there aren't enough testing kits.

"Right now, in New York, there's only one place to get tested. And that's the Wadsworth Lab in the Albany area,” he says.

That’s one lab for thousands of coronavirus swabs from all over the state.

COMPLETE COVERAGE: Coronavirus stories from News 12 

Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who is aiming to get nearly two dozen additional labs approved to test more New Yorkers, echoed that issue in an afternoon press conference.

“The laboratory then has to have the capacity to perform the test. That's where we have issues, the number of labs that can perform the tests,” says Cuomo.

Those who feel they may be sick with the coronavirus are urged to not rush to the emergency room. Instead, they are asked to call ahead, to make sure that hospitals and doctors can prepare so others aren't potentially exposed.

"I understand. People want to get tested. They want to know. And we may get to that, in the next week or so, where we can widespread test people,” says Larsen.

So far, more than 2,300 New Yorkers have been tested. If and when more labs are approved, that number could increase exponentially

White Plains Hospital has a coronavirus hotline for those who may be sick or just would like more information. The number is 914-681-2900.
    

GET INFORMATION: Coronavirus details from the CDC

CORONAVIRUS PREVENTION: What you can do to protect yourself

GET THE FACTS: What you need to know about coronavirus

MORE: New Rochelle School District holds news conference on school closures

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News 12 will host a 30-minute call-in show every night this week at 7 p.m. from March 9 to March 13 where experts will answer your questions about the coronavirus. The show will be followed by a special Facebook Live Q&A. The call in number is 914-378-4610.  

 

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