Long lines for Covid testing not going away anytime quickly, Summit CityMD CEO says: ‘We are being inundated’

The lines that in latest weeks have stretched for hours at pressing care places round New York City are not going away anytime quickly, Summit CityMD CEO Dr. Jeffrey Le Benger informed CNBC on Friday.

Of the roughly 34,000 sufferers that Summit CityMD sees on a regular basis in New York and New Jersey, about 70% are Covid associated, Le Benger mentioned. And a lot of that’s individuals looking for to get examined for Covid-19.

“These lines are going to continue until a vaccine comes out and until the nice weather comes about,” Le Benger mentioned on “Squawk on the Street.” “We are being inundated, and we are trying to take care of all of these patients who come and see us. We have, yes, lines around the block.”

Demand for testing has surged in latest weeks as individuals search to get examined for Covid-19 earlier than touring to see household for the vacations and because the virus spreads extra quickly throughout the nation. The spike in demand is but once more straining the nation’s potential to conduct molecular PCR testing, the so-called gold normal of diagnostic checks.

Summit CityMD, which was fashioned final 12 months after a merger of Summit Medical Group and CityMD, operates about 200 pressing care clinics throughout New York and New Jersey. The firm mentioned it has employed over 1,000 new crew members through the pandemic to deal with elevated demand for its providers.

“We have to accommodate all these patients with keeping sanity and health to our first-line providers,” Le Benger mentioned. Asked whether or not the demand for testing will stay excessive within the New York space after Thanksgiving, he responded, “Absolutely.”

“I think we are just headed into, unfortunately, a very tough time with the pandemic,” he mentioned. “And I think this is going to continue until the summertime, unfortunately.”

The firm is conducting greater than 15,000 Covid checks each day, Le Benger mentioned. But it is not sufficient to fulfill demand.

“For months, our urgent care sites have been extraordinarily busy, seeing millions of patients for typical urgent care needs plus increasing numbers of people seeking medical evaluation and a COVID-19 test,” CityMD mentioned in a message to sufferers earlier this month. “As you may have noticed, long lines are a daily fact at nearly every CityMD as we see a sharp rise in COVID-19 cases across the region.”

Summit CityMD provides three sorts of Covid-19 checks: A fast antigen check, an antibody check and a molecular PCR check. Rapid antigen checks detect a present Covid-19 an infection and are most appropriately used to check symptomatic individuals. But antigen checks’ accuracy can fluctuate, particularly in some settings and amongst individuals with out signs.

Antibody checks detect prior an infection. PCR checks detect viral materials in an individual and are essentially the most persistently correct form of check available on the market however are extra uncovered to a provide chain that is now resulting in delays in turnaround occasions.

Le Benger mentioned Summit CityMD is engaged on new software program in order that sufferers need not wait in line outside to get their Covid check. But he urged individuals to put on a masks, observe social distancing and observe public well being steerage to cut back the demand for Summit CityMD’s providers.

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