Bringing COVID-19 Testing to New York’s First Responders

“We go to their locations to provide them with PCR testing. Otherwise, they would have to go outside to a doctor or another location on their personal time. They thank us, saying ‘It helps us to focus our energies on what we have to do, and that’s to protect the city.’ ”
Antonio Luciano
Territory Manager, Patient Services

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors, nurses, police officers, and other first responders have been called heroes, but most will say they are simply doing the jobs they love. At Quest Diagnostics, we agree with both sentiments: they are heroes, every day—before, during, and after the pandemic. And Quest is doing our part in helping New York’s finest to safely remain on or return to the job protecting New Yorkers.

“When the [virus] was really raising its ugly head, we didn’t know much about it,” explained Antonio Luciano, Territory Manager, Patient Services, overseeing Quest’s New York Metro and Long Island patient service centers. “The CDC had commissioned a study [that included] the City of New York. The purpose of the study was to offer a serology test to all the frontline workers and civil servants, so the CDC could begin to study the effects of the virus.”

Antonio noted that his team was tasked with providing serology testing for New York first responders and public safety personnel to determine the prevalence of COVID-19 antibodies and assess associations between occupational exposures to the virus and previous infection. Study participation was voluntary and included police, firefighters, correctional staff, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, nonhospital doctors, nurses, phlebotomists, and more.

Antonio’s team was responsible for testing members of the New York Police Department (NYPD) in just 3 weeks. Due to the Quest team’s success with the serology project, they were later asked to provide COVID-19 PCR testing for the NYPD overall.

Quest soon set up 6 PCR testing sites in strategic locations in NYPD’s network of precincts, including at 1 Police Plaza where the police leadership works. Quest also contributed to the graduation of 800 new police recruits at Madison Square Garden. Everyone who was participating needed to receive a negative PCR test within 72 hours of the ceremony. Quest facilitated testing for all attendees, including all recruits, NYPD leadership, and dignitaries.

Regarding the vaccination mandates that were in place at that time, Antonio explained, “NYPD officers who received medical or religious exemptions from mandatory COVID-19 vaccination have a testing option every week. Quest supports those officers who have an exemption to get them cleared so that they can get back to work.”

No matter what our role at Quest, we always remember that behind every test is a person, and many are everyday heroes.

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