New York has been testing residents for Covid-19 antibodies at grocery stores, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said Saturday.
The survey developed a baseline infection rate by testing 15,000 people at grocery stores and community centers across the state over the past two weeks, the governor’s office said, adding that the study shows 12.3% of the population have Covid-19.
Rudy Fuertes, the president of Fteley Food Corp, told CNN that antibody testing had occurred at two of his Fine Fare grocery stores in the Bronx, and at one Key Food location in Brooklyn.
He said about 200 people, including patrons and workers, were tested at the locations over several days.
“The communities we serve, they’re very vulnerable. They’re less fortunate. They want to go back to work. They’re running out of money," Fuertes said.
Testing involved a dedicated line and room for taking blood samples, according to Fuertes.
He was contacted by the state about the pilot program of testing in the grocery stores and said he was more than happy to accommodate.
About 62 employees collectively at the 3 locations were tested for antibodies, including Fuertes who said he tested positive
“I didn’t even know I had the virus. Most of the people on the front line have tested positive without having symptoms and I was one of them. I tested positive for antibodies, and I didn't have any symptoms at all," he said.
“I think it was a great initiative from the governor to bring hope to the community," Fuertes said of the antibody testing.
He also said he noticed an uptick in the number of individuals cashing in recyclables for money.
“That tells me people are running out of money. People are desperate. They’re cashing anything they can to buy food," Fuertes said.