New York City’s first coronavirus testing site opens

At New York City’s first pop-up coronavirus testing site, a drive-thru facility in Staten Island, there is one basic rule – keep your car windows closed.

Tests at the Seaview Avenue site were advertised as by appointment only but that didn’t stop Muhammad Qureshi from getting his nose swabbed.

“They just go up your nostrils and it’s like a two-second process.

“The testing area, the hot zone, is a cordoned-off area, but it’s fine.

“They said they would call with the results within two, three days.

“We’re fine but we’re in the retail business and she’s diabetic, so we just wanted to get tested,” said Qureshi, 44, who drove up to the site with his wife, Rubab Abid, 38.

Vehicles lined up in the parking lot of the South Beach Psychiatric Center, near Staten Island University Hospital North, where nurses in full Tyvek suits took information in an area called the “hot zone.”

High-risk and symptomatic patients are prioritised.

“Things are going smoothly so far. It’s all hands on deck.

“No windows down until you get all the way to the swab itself and then it’s windows back up.

“We have stringent site safety, stringent site security.

“We have safety operators on-site patrolling, looking for any violations or any no-gos,” said state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos.

The test involves a nasal swab that must go all the way up a patient’s nose.

Experts have said the process can be invasive and uncomfortable, but it’s also simple and quick.

The site is the third in New York state. The other two are in New Rochelle in Westchester County and Jones Beach on Long Island.

Liquor store owners Vinny Serchio, 65, and Dom Poveromo, 76, stopped by the Staten Island site to get tested, even though they have no symptoms.

“We just decided to come down here.

“You go up, you give them your license, they take all your information.

“Then you go into another line. They put something up your nose, both sides, and that’s it.

“Just your nose, not in your mouth. They did a little in one nostril, then they really went up the other one.

“No pain though, just a little tickle. No discomfort. They’re all suited up. Each person changes their gloves.

“They’re a little slow. If they’re going do half a million people, they’ll be here until the summer,” Serchio said.

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