Part of Ongoing State Efforts To Make Vaccines, Testing and Resources Widely Available

Learn More at health.ny.gov/monkeypox

Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that the New York State Department of Health has reviewed and approved Quest Diagnostics’ recent application for testing to identify Monkeypox in New York State. The testing, which uses real-time PCR technology to test samples from individuals who are presenting with vesicular rashes or pustules, will further expand New York State’s ample testing capacity and give providers another option when it comes to labs that can process samples and detect Monkeypox virus. Currently, specimens can be tested at the state’s Wadsworth Center, the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as well through private labs including LabCorp, Mayo Clinic, Aegis Sciences Corporation, Sonic Healthcare, and UR Medicine Lab.

“New York still faces a disproportionate number of monkeypox cases, and we will continue to meet this moment with urgency and aggressive action,” Governor Hochul said. “Today’s announcement builds on our ongoing monkeypox response efforts to expand testing capacity, secure more vaccines and make resources as widely available as possible. We will continue to do everything in our power to protect New Yorkers, including our most vulnerable communities.”

Like other tests available, Quest Diagnostics’ new polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test uses swab specimens collected by healthcare providers, such as primary care physicians, hospitals or urgent care, from patients presenting with an acute generalized pustular or vesicular rash. The new type of testing was announced by Quest in mid-July, with deployment expected in the weeks ahead. According to New York State Public Health Law, the Department of Health was required to take additional steps to approve this new testing, with Quest Diagnostics submitting information to the Clinical Laboratory Evaluation Program (CLEP). That review is now complete.

State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett said, “As we continue to expand monkeypox testing capacity through the additional use of private labs, it’s important to know that the State’s Wadsworth Center also has available capacity for additional testing. But the real challenge with testing is that it involves swabbing lesions, which must be present for the test to assess whether the virus is also present. Without lesions, testing is not currently possible. And we will continue working to make sure providers know when and how to test for monkeypox.”

Providers can find detailed instructions on how to collect samples in the health advisories the department has shared through the health alert network.

The expanded testing capacity builds on the New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH)’s ongoing response efforts on monkeypox, which included recently launching a new SMS-text notification effort to deliver the latest monkeypox information directly to New Yorkers. New Yorkers can sign up for text messages—which will include alerts about cases, symptoms, spread, and resources for testing and vaccination—by texting “MONKEYPOX” to 81336 or “MONKEYPOXESP” for texts in Spanish. By providing a zip code, New Yorkers can also opt-in for location-based messages.

Due to New York State’s ongoing coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Monkeypox Response Team, New York State has secured more than 60,000 doses to date, including those for New York City. Governor Hochul recently spoke with Dr. Ashish Jha of the White House to ensure that New York continues to receive its fair share of vaccine supply as soon they are available, especially for those New Yorkers in communities with high transmission rates.

NYSDOH’s dedicated website, which stays updated with the latest information, has free, downloadable materials including a palm card, information card, handout, and posters available in both English and Spanish. NYSDOH has already distributed these resources to LGBTQ+ organizations, local county health departments, healthcare providers, and businesses. NYSDOH has also engaged in a paid, digital advertising campaign to get information to communities experiencing higher rates of monkeypox cases.

In addition to public outreach, the New York State Department of Health continues to focus on distributing vaccines to communities. Local county health departments that have received supply are administering the vaccine directly and establishing their own appointment processes. Working in partnership with counties, New Yorkers who sign-up for location-based alerts may receive alerts on vaccine availability, clinic locations, scheduling, and other monkeypox-related updates specific to their area.

Earlier this month, NYSDOH, in partnership with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (NYCDOHMH), hosted a Monkeypox Town Hall for community leaders led by State Health Commissioner Dr. Mary T. Bassett and City Health Commissioner Dr. AshwinVasan.

For more information about monkeypox, visit health.ny.gov/monkeypox.

New Yorkers can learn more about New York State’s first vaccine allocation from the federal government here and the second allocation here.