Mount Sinai COVID-19 saliva tests to aid NYC's reopening

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Mount Sinai Health System has created a COVID-19 saliva testing program for New York City residents seeking to travel internationally or attend large events.

The program aims to provide quick, accurate testing to help residents safely return to in-person work settings or leisure activities, Mount Sinai said April 5. The testing effort is part of New York's Excelsior Pass program, which entails the use of a digital health app to confirm an individual's COVID-19 vaccination or recent negative test before they can attend a large gathering like a sporting event or concert.

People can get the polymerase chain reaction test at one of four Mount Sinai locations in Manhattan. The program guarantees results within 48 hours, though Mount Sinai said most results should be ready within 24 hours. The results are also transmitted to the patient's Excelsior Pass app, which the individual can then show to gain entry to a venue.

The test will cost $139.50 and won't be covered by insurance, according to ABC affiliate WABC-TV.

"Our discussions with several of the major insurance companies indicate that insurance does not cover testing solely for the purpose of attending a leisure or entertainment event, or for travel," David Reich, MD, president of Mount Sinai Hospital and Mount Sinai Queens, told the station.

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