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Council Member Holden Says “Racist” City Policy Has Left District 30 With No City-Run COVID Test Sites

COVID test (Photo by JC Gellidon on Unsplash)

Jan. 3, 2022 By Allie Griffin

A Queens council member whose district doesn’t have a single city-run COVID test site said the de Blasio administration excluded his neighborhood based on its racial makeup.

Council Member Robert Holden said his constituents have been denied testing resources since the former administration determined that they didn’t live in one of 33 “hard-hit” neighborhoods identified by the city’s racial equity taskforce.

His district, Council District 30 — which covers Ridgewood, Maspeth, Glendale, Middle Village and parts of Woodhaven and Woodside — has no city-run COVID test sites roughly three weeks after COVID-19 cases began to rise drastically in the city.

Holden told the Queens Post that he repeatedly called on former Mayor Bill de Blasio and his team to open test sites in the district — only to be told that the neighborhoods in his district were not a priority.

The 30th Council District is historically white, while the 33 taskforce neighborhoods are largely communities of color. According to 2010 census data, District 30 was about 57 percent non-Hispanic white. The 2020 census data by district level has yet to be released.

“It’s a sick and twisted policy to actually exclude neighborhoods based on race or ethnicity, and it reeks so badly of the dysfunctional de Blasio administration,” Holden said.

The council member’s district — other than a slice of Woodhaven — doesn’t include any of the 33 neighborhoods identified by the city’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity (TRIE) as the “hardest-hit communities” during the pandemic.

Holden said that a de Blasio staffer told him in an email that the city is prioritizing the 33 neighborhoods for COVID-19 testing, arguing that they have been historically under-resourced and disadvantaged.

He said that the staffer told him that the city would also not be distributing at-home test kits in his district because none of the neighborhoods have been listed by the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity.

“That’s when I went ballistic,” Holden said. “I said that’s absurd … and doesn’t make any sense in fighting COVID because it doesn’t only spread in certain areas. It’s everywhere.”

Council District 30. It covers Ridgewood, Maspeth, Glendale, Middle Village and parts of Woodhaven and Woodside

Holden said he eventually got 100 at-home test kits from the city that he had to “scrounge” for and distributed them all to constituents within 20 minutes.

However, he said the same staffer reportedly gave a similar emailed response to Staten Island Council Member Joe Borelli when he asked for more test sites and resources in his district. The emails were also corroborated by a New York Post report.

Holden, who has just been sworn in to his second term, said he’s not ready to let the issue go.

“You don’t fight racism with racism,” he said. “What you try to do is give [resources] to every neighborhood.”

Holden is in the process of sending a letter to Mayor Eric Adams requesting city-run COVID test sites in his district. He will also be calling for the disbandment of the Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity.

The councilmember also said that he wants there to be an investigation into the taskforce and the de Blasio administration’s allegedly unequal distribution of pandemic resources, like test kits and mobile testing vans.

“I want an investigation as to how the Blasio administration withheld very important COVID fighting resources to certain areas,” he said. “… You don’t do that. You don’t exclude neighborhoods.”

In the meantime, Holden and Assembly Member Brian Barnwell are currently offering free COVID-19 testing at their respective offices on select days this week as they await city-run sites.

With allegedly no help from the mayor’s team, Holden said he called Dr. Mitch Katz, the President and CEO of the city’s public hospital system, directly to get the test site opened at his Middle Village district office. The site offers PCR saliva tests with results via email in 24 to 48 hours.

In just two days, more than 600 people got tested.

Despite its success, Holden said he remains upset since people are still waiting in lines in the cold. He said every neighborhood must have multiple city-run test sites and that the city should partner with local pharmacies to reach more areas.

“You need a few sites in every neighborhood,” Holden said. “I don’t want people waiting on lines. If you’re not feeling well, and you want to get tested, you should not be waiting outside in the cold.”

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17 Comments

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Gardens Watcher

There is now a NYC Health & Hospitals indoor site next to the new Parrot grocery store at 48th & Queens Boulevard on the north side. PCR nasal swabs. Results in 4 to 5 days. Was just there. Has chairs so you can sit down. No line. FREE.

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Blah De Blabbio Bob

“ We don’t take handouts. We’re a proud neighborhood.”

Robert Holden has spent years suing the city to keep his political father De Blasio out. He achieves this, now he wants De Blasio’s handouts?

And again he callously cries racism without looking in the mirror? Pssst, has anyone told Bob what year it is? Is he aware we have a black mayor!? Forget common/white sense, this guy is completely out of it!

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You don't live here

You left NYC right? Your opinion is pointless. Please go comment on Alabama Post instead.

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Reggie

If this was a functional country, a grand jury would’ve indicted De Blasio years ago.

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Dan

Hochel and Adams are beginning to sound more and more like the governor of Florida talking about no lockdowns, reexamining how covid hospitalizations and deaths are calculated, keeping schools open, reducing quarantine time, etc. Its laughable and all being done because they know how miserable NYers are and trying to stop the migration of middle class and wealthy NYers and the influx of the poor due to the handouts. Its laughable now that money is running out, people understand dense cities are not the place to be as far as covid surges despite a high number of vaccinated adults and crime and shootings remain high. I even read that the the District Attorney will not be prosecuting everyone found with an illegal gun. But will look at it case by case. And gave his dad as an example of how people like his dad who owned an illegal gun while he was growing up and living in a high crime neighborhood should not be prosecuted.

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Sad and noticeable true

This is sad and truly happening. growing up in nyc I experienced racism daily being a white minority in public school, but most people were cool. when I became an adult people were much better, yeah you would witness racism directed at someone or yourself but there are always stupid people everywhere. The last 8 years or so Ive noticed people have become very nasty to each other in this city. The wife and I have noticed visiting other cities that there is more racial harmony in other cities in america and people get along better. probably moving once our businesses lease is up.

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Cnn causes brain rot

Deblasio war on middle class white people continues
It’s a war on achievement and on taxpayers which Adams must stop

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de Blasio isn't the mayor of NYC...

You voted for a billionaire game show host, and you’re “concerned” about the middle class?

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When your cult leaders tell you, it’s us Vs. Then (CNN).Cult conditioning 101.

DeBlasio hates Asians because they prove his narrative is totally false.

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The content of one's character

Racism and discrimination are all perfectly acceptable in today’s “tolerant” and “enlightened” society as long as they are aimed at white people. Fact.

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Why does the Radical Right want everything to be PC?

The 30th Council District is historically white, while the 33 taskforce neighborhoods are largely communities of color. Does your comment have anything to do with this article, or just another booomer ranting about wokeness?

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LGB!

Shouldn’t you be glued to the tv watching Rachel Madcow’s latest juvenile rant on PMSNBC?

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