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Amid COVID-19, New York Asks Counties To Plan For Flu

Ted S. Warren

The New York State Department of Health has asked county governments to detail how they plan to perform necessary influenza testing amid ongoing testing for coronavirus. 

Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is concerned that counties have already reached lab capacity handling COVID-19.

“This is going to be difficult and challenging. It will require a reduction in the number of COVID tests or in the turnaround time on COVID tests, and we already had issues on the turnaround time on COVID tests. So we want to get ahead of this,” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said plans will most likely have to involve schools, as some students return to class for in-person instruction and could become carriers of the virus.

“You're in flu season — who doesn't have sniffles or a cough? I mean, to pick symptomatic children out of a line is going to be very, very hard, ” Cuomo said.

Cuomo said schools with COVID-19 measures in place, like wearing masks, doing temperature checks and social distancing, will help prevent the spread of any virus.

Counties will have until August 26 to submit their plans for COVID-19 testing and flu vaccination.

Copyright 2020 WSHU

A native Long Islander, J.D. is WSHU's afternoon news editor. Formally WAMC’s Berkshire bureau chief, he has reported for public radio stations, including bylines with WSHU, WNYC, WBUR, WNPR and NPR. J.D. has reported on healthcare and small businesses for "Long Island Business News" and real estate and land-use for The Press News Group newspapers. He also hosted, produced and engineered award-winning programs at WUSB Stony Brook. An avid fencer in his free time, J.D. holds a B.A. in journalism and sociology from Stony Brook University and an M.S. in communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.