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COVID-19 testing begins for kids on Long Island as outbreak spreads 'like a fire'

Posted at 5:59 PM, Apr 05, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-05 17:59:11-04

MANHASSET, NY — Kids are now being tested for COVID-19 on Long Island.

Mitchel Gilman, 15, was one of them this Sunday. He got a nasal swab outside of PM Pediatrics in Manhasset, where 25 kids are now being tested a day.

“It hurt, but definitely a good idea to get tested to be safe,” he told PIX11.

He talked with us by phone while sitting in the vehicle his sister brought him to the testing-site in.

According to Dr. Sheryl Cohen, the vice president of Clinical Operations at PM Pediatrics, health care workers here are swabbing newborns, toddlers, teens and even young adults up to age 26.

“The symptoms are a lot of the same: fever dry cough decrease of appetite, playing less," Dr. Cohen said. "Now though it can be anything from vomiting to diarrhea.”

Long Island cases are rising at alarming rates, this as health experts predict we are just days away from the apex of the coronavirus outbreak.

As of Sunday afternoon, over 14 thousand people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Nassau County, with over 12 thousand positive cases in Suffolk County.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said people should watch Long Island.

"It’s like a fire spreading," he said.

According to Dr. Cohen, testing takes about 5 minutes, results are expected within three day, and, so far, only 38 percent of the tests taken have come back positive.

“Kids are not getting as sick as adults and that’s an amazing thing," Dr. Cohen said.

The site in Nassau Country is in Manhasset, the one in Suffolk County is in Sheldon.

Both sites will be open daily from 10 a.m. -6 p.m.

It’s by appointment only - children need to be screened by a doctor first through a virtual or in-person visit.