ALBANY — Insurers in New York have been ordered to waive any cost-sharing fees relating to the testing of the novel coronavirus, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced.


Cuomo ordered the state's Department of Financial Services earlier this month to waive all cost sharing associated with testing for the COVID-19 virus at emergency rooms, urgent cares and regular doctor offices.


"Containing this virus depends on us having the facts about who has it - and these measures will break down any barriers that could prevent New Yorkers from getting tested," Cuomo said in a statement.


The governor also ordered the state's Department of Health to waive to co-pays associated with the test for those on Medicaid.


Insurers will also be required to cover the costs of immunization to all children under 19 should one become available, and waive cost-sharing fees for all adults.


Ramping up testing


The order comes as New York looks to ramp up its testing for the virus in the hopes of slowing its spread.


Testing as been steadily increasing since the first known case of the virus in the state was announced on March 1.


Since then, the number of reported cases has ballooned to over 2,300 as of Wednesday, which state officials contribute to the growing testing capacity.


To date, 14,597 New Yorkers have been tested for COVID-19, but the state is hoping to increase capacity to 5,000 people daily.


In order to meet the need, the state has contracted with a number of private labs and has created a number of drive-thru testing facilities across the state, including New Rochelle in Westchester County, where a cluster of positive cases has emerged.