During this pandemic, many people have lost family, friends, and co-workers.  Some people are still recovering from this deadly virus.  HTMAD would like to share some information with you and your families as well as our community. It shows that in order for us to contain the COVID19 virus would be to get tested. Once the pandemic began testing was limited and as we became better-prepared testing is available.

As hands That Make A Difference staff member, you are considered an essential worker, and essential workers are now eligible to be tested for COVID-19 even if they are not symptomatic.

If you feel sick, or if you have been exposed to someone who is sick or has been diagnosed with COVID-19 but do not yourself have symptoms, you can get tested. Here are three ways to do so:

  1. Contact your Primary Care Physician (PCP) to schedule a diagnostic COVID-19 test. If you do not have a PCP and not covered by HTMAD health insurance, you can locate one testing sites on CDC Websites.

  2. CityMD is administering tests to any individual who:

    • Has shown coronavirus symptoms like fever, cough, shortness of breath and body aches

    • Is an essential staff member or a first responder working with coronavirus patients

    • Has been in contact with someone who has the virus in the past 2 weeks

  3. Make an appointment for diagnostic testing through New York State by calling the DOH hotline at 888-364-3065 or go online to This includes drive-through testing.

CityMD locations can be found at If you choose to be tested at CityMD, please bring your Hands That Make A Difference ID and a printout of the essential worker letter sent to all staff by Lisa Fields-Linnen.

Regardless of where you get tested, you will not have a co-pay; New York State has directed private health insurers to waive cost-sharing associated with testing for COVID-19 including emergency room, urgent care, and physician’s office visits.

Remember that even if you test negative, the most important thing to do is to continue to maintain all the necessary precautions: social distancing, wearing masks in public, hand washing, and wiping down all work surfaces before and after use.

Antibody tests are now more widely available. Antibody tests reveal whether an individual has been exposed to COVID-19. These tests are primarily useful for public health authorities to get a picture of the infection rates over a large population. The statistics show that New York State now shows that almost 15% of the population has antibodies for COVID-19. However, antibody tests are not useful for return-to-work decisions for each individual. The reasons for this include:

Please stay safe and healthy, and thank you for your tremendous work and dedication to the youth, families, and community we serve.

  1. Antibodies may not be detected in the early days of infection up to 2 weeks

  2. Many of the tests on the market are not FDA approved and trigger many false positives and negatives

  3. If someone tests positive for antibodies, it is not clear to what extent that person is protected from reinfection, how long their immunity lasts, or what level of antibodies are needed for immunity