Can Anyone Who is Willing To Pay for a Test Get It?  No.

Who Says I Can’t Get a Test?

Covid Nasal TestingPresident Trump always says that anybody who wants a test can get one. If you work in the White House, you can get a test whenever you want even if you have no symptoms. That is just not true anywhere else; someone decides whether you qualify to be tested or not.

What Gives Anybody the Right to Decide If I Can Get Tested or Not?

The CDC has issued guidance on priorities for who should be tested, but state and local governments actually set the criteria doctors must use to decide who actually gets a test and who doesn’t. Governor Cuomo directed the NY State Department of Health (“DOH”) to establish a statewide prioritization process. Every laboratory in the state able to do COVID 19 testing has to follow these priorities. All labs are forbidden to make any deals reserving tests to anyone who doesn’t meet the state DOH guidelines. Anyone violating these rules can be fined up to $10,000, or three times the total value of all the tests given, whichever is higher. Pharmacists meeting certain qualifications were authorized to order testing on May 11,2020, but they also have to follow the guidelines. The DOH guidelines were revised to give essential employees who have contact with the public in the course of their jobs a priority, along with first responders and health care workers, who already had such a priority. The availability of health care testing for health care workers depends largely upon what hospital they work for.

Can I Get Tested?

If you want to know, go to the Department of Health COVID 19 Screening Page.  They will ask you

  • what symptoms you have;
  • if you work as a First Responder, Healthcare Worker, Nursing Home Employee or an Essential employee with direct contact with the public while working;
  • if you have been in close contact with someone who is diagnosed with COVID 19;
  • if you have traveled internationally in the last 14 days; and
  • if you have cancer, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, COPD, or diabetes;

Most of the COVID Deaths in New York Have Been in Nursing Homes. Is Anything Being Done About That?

Yes, the Governor has ordered that all nursing home staff be tested twice a week. His order didn’t require testing of nursing home residents, and it remains to be seen whether the operators of the nursing homes will be able to get their hands on enough testing materials to do this.

I’m in Pain and I Need an Elective Surgery, But My Doctor Says He’s Not Allowed to Do it. Is That True?

No. As of April 29, 2020, doctors can perform elective surgery in the hospital if the patient has tested negative for COVID 19 and complied with certain other DOH guidelines.

I have COVID 19 and I Would Like to Try Hydroxychloroquine. Can I Do That?

It cannot legally be prescribed in New York, except for an FDA approved use1, or if you are taking it as part of a supervised clinical trial. The FDA has warned against such use because of heart rhythm problems, but there is no federal law against prescribing it to COVID 19 patients.

[1] Such as lupus, malaria or rheumatoid arthritis.