Where to get a COVID test in NYC
I have no medical background, experience, or credentials. I am just a random layperson. Nothing on this page is medical advice.
Also… I am sure I’m missing some good options here— just sharing the summarized experience of myself + friends + family.
If you know of another place that’s good or that should be avoided, I’d love to hear about it! Or any other good resources on this topic. You can email me or get in touch on LinkedIn, and I’ll add it to this post (with attribution / a link / whatever you like)!
Why write this?
There’s a real lack of communication from the city gov’t about where to get a test. The city runs their own testing program and it’s great, but a lot of my friends hadn’t heard about it. Plus, there are no rules about test turnaround time and some sketchy places have horrible (>2wk) turnaround times. I want people to avoid those places!
NY Health + Hospitals. This is the city’s official testing program, and it’s awesome.
- It is completely free; they don’t even look at your insurance.
- Walk-ins only, no appointments.
- The turnaround times are usually very fast (often <48hrs).
- Here’s a link to the “Official COVID-19 Testing Sites” page, where you can see all locations and their hours. You can also now check wait times at the respective sites!
- Some sites offer “rapid molecular” testing; here’s a page discussing that.
NYU Langone has an excellent testing program.
- They have a very fast turnaround time, because they have their own lab. I’ve been tested there 3 times between Aug 2020 and Dec 2020, and they’ve always gotten me a result in less than 30 hours (once it took 5 hours).
- Their process is:
- You set up a “virtual urgent care visit” in their system, video-chat with a doctor for a few minutes in their app (it’s never taken me more than 10min), and they order you a test. This is described in the “COVID-19 Diagnostic Testing” section of this page, and the virtual urgent care link is in there. (I’ll put it here, too, for your convenience.)
- Then, you get can schedule a test in the app. They have a bunch of locations across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and LI.
- You go in to whatever location you’ve selected, are given a test, and then the result will pop up in their app as soon as they have it.
- Unfortunately, some insurances don’t like the virtual visit part of it, and you’ll end up with a ~$125 co-pay. I think you’ll be informed of that in advance, when you try to schedule the virtual visit (best to check with your insurer in advance though!)
- NYC DoH’s “COVID Express” Sites. This is a different city-run program. They provide rapid (<24hr) turnaround PCR testing. You can schedule an appointment at the page linked above; availability is pretty limited.
Rapid antigen tests
- ModernMD in Brooklyn is the main provider I’m aware of that is providing rapid antigen testing and will go through insurance. They have several locations in Brooklyn. I think most insurances cover it… ~10 of my friends have gone here and none have had a copay (again, please check with your insurance ahead of time).
- Brooklyn Health Medical Alliance I think works with ModernMD and all the things I said about ModernMD apply here as well.
Places I don’t like
I really recommend avoiding both CityMD and Statcare if you can. They both have had horrible turnaround times (one friend’s CityMD PCR in August took 14 days). They’re constantly overcrowded and I have heard several stories about mismanagement and other issues.
I don’t know much about OneMedical. I went there to get tested in August and when I showed up, I asked about turnaround times— they said it would take 2 weeks, so I left. The people were nice, though, and this was very early in the summer.
There are a bunch of places that will give you a rapid antigen test for around $200 upfront, and won’t submit to insurance. That’s too pricey for me, so I don’t know much about those places. They’re pretty easy to find, just search “rapid covid test” on Google Maps.