April 14, 2020 By Allie Griffin
New York City will begin making its own coronavirus test kits, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today.
The City’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) will create a supply chain through New York City-based companies to create the tests and will also buy tests from an Indiana-based firm to reach 100,000 kits per week by May.
“For the first time, we’re gonna have a truly reliable major supply of testing,” de Blasio said. “I’m so proud of my fellow New Yorkers.”
The mayor has repeatedly said that increased testing is key to reopening the economy. Once the city has reduced the spread, testing is necessary to trace and contain cases.
“The number one issue from day one has been testing,” the mayor said, adding that the federal government has not provided the testing needed to New York City.
The Indiana-based Aria Diagnostics will produce 50,000 test kits per week, starting on April 20, that New York City will buy. The company has already donated 50,000 kits to the city.
Then, beginning in May, the EDC will launch production of test kits within the five boroughs — by creating a supply chain of academic and commercial labs, local manufacturers and companies with 3D printers. The EDC-led companies will make another 50,000 a week.
In total, New York City will secure 100,000 test kits per week or 400,000 per month, de Blasio said. “A lot of folks would have said this was impossible,” he said. “They’re making it possible and that’s what New Yorkers do.”
However, he said the federal government will still need to provide more test kits.
“This does not let the federal government off the hook.”
New York City-based firms are also producing personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by healthcare providers.
Eight firms are currently producing 240,000 face shields per week and another five firms are producing 30,000 surgical gowns per week. Each will ramp up production by April 24 to produce 465,000 shields and 100,000 gowns a week.