'Holding pattern': As state begins random antibody testing, Nassau police await tests of their own

Police and other first responders in Nassau County were supposed to get rapid antibody tests almost two weeks ago, but it still hasn't happened so far.
Nassau PBA President James McDermott says it's unacceptable. He says he's growing increasingly frustrated with a number of issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic and Nassau police officers.   
McDermott tells News 12 that officers who have been out sick with coronavirus are being allowed to return to work without having a second swab test to prove they're now COVID-19 negative.
McDermott adds that it has now been almost two weeks since Nassau County announced that 20,000 antibody tests would be available for police in the county.
"We're in a holding pattern, and we have been," says the PBA president.
As News 12 first reported on April 10, the testing didn't happen as scheduled because no laboratory in the state had validated the blood tests that suddenly flooded the market. 
Asked about those tests at a news conference Monday, County Executive Laura Curran says Nassau wants to make sure it's getting the best tests it can.
"We didn't actually buy any tests yet, money was allocated but none have been purchased yet because we want to make sure we're buying the best product possible," she said.
Also Monday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that a state lab had developed an antibody test and that 3,000 New Yorkers would be randomly tested to determine how widely the virus has spread in local communities.
County officials say that the state currently has the capacity to just perform the randomized tests, but signaled that Nassau could ask the state lab for its antibody tests in the future.
"I think once the state has the capacity to do a large number of testing, that would probably be a big part of our strategy," said Nassau Health Commissioner Dr. Lawrence Eisenstein. 
"They don't have the capacity to do that yet, they have the capacity to what they're doing now with these randomized test but that's it, it's all about bandwidth," added Curran. "But as soon as we get our hands on a test that is reliable, proven and that is validated and has FDA approval, we're ready."
Nassau Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder said in a statement that the department is following CDC guidelines and only tests when an officer is symptomatic. He says officers are given seven days of sick leave after the initial positive test and cannot return to work until they are symptom-free for three days. 
 
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