Coronavirus Testing 101: What You Need to Know in NY and CT

31 Jul Coronavirus Testing 101: What You Need to Know in NY and CT

There has been an uptick in Covid-19 positive cases in Fairfield County and Westchester County over the last week, driven in part by some teens not practicing social distancing and returning to life as “normal.” This means that in another two to three weeks, we may see another spike of positive Covid-19 cases for those who were exposed to the positive cases in teens, including parents, grandparents and so on and so on.  It is important to get tested.  In Westchester County, you can visit the drive through testing center at Glen Island in New Rochelle or the walk through testing sites in Yonkers, NY or Mount Vernon, NY.  In Nassau County you can visit sites in either Hempstead, NY, Elmont, NY or Westbury, NY.  In Fairfield County, CT, Yale New Haven Hospital offers drive through 15 minute appointments, including Greenwich Hospital and Stamford Hospital offers testing at their Tully Health Center.




Testing is available in many locations throughout Connecticut and New York.  Anyone experiencing symptoms or may have been exposed to someone who is positive should first contact their primary care provider. Anyone who does not have a primary care provider should call 2-1-1. or visit the CT Testing Locator to locate the nearest testing site. Tests are available free of charge. United Health Care sent this Covid-19 policy update this week:

  • Your cost-share** (copays, deductibles, and coinsurance) for COVID-19 diagnostic virus/antigen testing is $0 through the national public health emergency period, October 22, 2020.
  • Your cost-share for COVID-19 antibody testing is $0 through the national public health emergency period.

The information available for Covid-19 testing seems overwhelming, but it does not have to be.  And by the way, if you do think you have been exposed and are seeking a test, GOOD FOR YOU!  It is truly the only way to get a grasp on who has been exposed and potentially infected as we try to control Covid-19moving forward.

 What Are The 2 Types of Coronavirus Diagnostic Tests?


1. Molecular Test

Called RT-PCR Test

Detects the virus’ genetic material in a sample of mucus from a nose or throat swab.

Results in One Day or Up to a Week

A doctor, pharmacist, or other health professional orders a referral for the COVID-19 test and sends the order to the testing clinic.



2. Antigen Test

Called Rapid Diagnostic Test 

Detects the virus in a sample of mucus from a nose or throat swab.

Results in Hour or Less

Positive Results ARE Highly Accurate and Faster Diagnosis IF Positive




An Antigen test is more likely to miss an active coronavirus infection. So while a quick positive diagnosis is helpful to go into quarantine and alert others you may have been exposed, a negative result SHOULD be tested again with a molecular-PCR test ordered by a health care practitioner.

What Are Antibody Tests?

Antibody tests are also called Serology Tests and may provide quick results if you had the virus in the past. This test should not be used to diagnose an active infection. Antibody tests only detect antibodies the immune system develops in response to the virus, not the virus itself. It can take days to several weeks to develop enough antibodies to be detected in a test. They can stay in your bloodstream for several weeks or more after recovery. 



At this time researchers do not know if the presence of antibodies means that you are immune to the coronavirus in the future.

Coronavirus Testing In

Westchester County and Fairfield County


First, call your health provider and speak to them by phone or by video-chat to determine your exposure and your risk.  Your health care provider may recommend you take the PCR Molecular test, which is more accurate, but a longer wait time. In our area, the PCR molecular test is offered by such clinics as WestMed in West Harrison, which is a walk-in clinic in their main medical building on Westchester Avenue and no referral needed.  


Another good option with an efficient drive through testing option in 15 minutes is Greenwich Hospital with a doctor’s referral and an appointment. Greenwich Hospital has been doing an outstanding job with their continuous testing 7 days week, follow up calls and results within 24 hours reported on “YourChart,” their online patient portal platform. 




Below are links to Covid-19 Information and how to access testing in our area:



  • Contact your health care provider to find out if they offer testing.
  • Call the NY State COVID-19 Hotline at (888) 364-3065 to make an appointment at the drive-through COVID-19 testing center at Glen Island in New Rochelle, or at walk through testing sites in Mount Vernon and Yonkers . West Med in West Harrison also offers walk-in testing with no referral.
  • You can also use the New York State Online Screening Tool to share your symptoms and pre-register for testing.
  • Call (914) 202-4530 to make an appointment at the COVID-19 drive through testing site at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla.



  • Contact your own health care provider to find out if they offer testing.
  • Yale New Haven Health is currently providing diagnostic testing for patients who may have COVID-19 or have been exposed. Outdoor COVID-19 Specimen Collection Stations are operating at Bridgeport Hospital, Greenwich Hospital, Lawrence + Memorial Hospital and Yale New Haven Hospital.

    Because COVID-19 testing is not appropriate for every patient with respiratory symptoms, you must have an order from a healthcare provider to receive a test.

To be tested, you must complete the following steps:

  • Call your doctor immediately if you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and/or develop a fever and other symptoms Covid-19. 
  • Once your doctor has submitted the lab order, you will call 203-688-1700, YNHHS central scheduling, where staff will provide you with an appointment date and time and the location of the Specimen Collection Station where you will have your test. Please arrive only at the location and time you were given. Proceed as directed by signs and hospital staff.
  • Obtaining your results: Your physician will call you with the results of the test. You may also review your test in MyChart. If you have not received a call, call 203-688-1700.  For any concerns and questions, please call the YNHHS COVID-19 Call Center at 833-ASK-YNHH (833-275-9644).