Free COVID-19 diagnostic testing for NY's agricultural workers - May 26, 2020

As New York State's capacity to test for COVID-19 is expanding, "essential employees" and Phase 1 businesses in the state's re-opening are being prioritized for diagnostic testing, according to the NYS Department of Health's revised guidance. This means anyone who works in agriculture should be eligible for free COVID-19 testing. (See "Can I Be Tested?" at

"Essential workers," which include anyone working in production agriculture, can request an appointment by completing an assessment at or by calling the New York State's COVID-19 hotline at 1-888-364-3065. The hotline does provide translators for non-English speakers.

When completing the assessment, you will be asked a short series of questions regarding symptoms and exposures. If you or your employees have not had any symptoms or exposure to a person diagnosed with COVID-19, this does not mean you are ineligible for free testing.

Eligibility relates to the question about your work. Among those eligible for free testing are "essential employees who have direct contact with the public while working." That includes anyone who works on a production-based farm.

New York State requires the following information for making an appointment at one of its testing sites: first and last name, gender, date of birth, and permanent address. A photo i.d. and permanent address information will be requested also at the testing site.

Any agricultural worker who needs assistance with requesting free diagnostic testing may contact NYCAMH's Farm Partners' social worker, Kathy Smith, at 800-343-7527 or NYCAMH also has staff available to provide Spanish-speaking translation assistance. NYCAMH is a private, non-profit and non-regulatory organization committed to the health and safety of New York's farm community.

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