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Federal Government Opens COVID-19 Testing Sites in Queens as Officials Race to Raise Testing Capacity

The CDC mobile COVID-19 test site at Travers Park in Jackson Heights (Council Member-elect Shekar Krishnan)

Dec. 23, 2021 By Allie Griffin

The federal government has opened three COVID-19 testing sites in Queens as officials from all levels of government rush to raise testing capacity amid a surge of cases.

The first site run by the CDC opened in Travers Park in Jackson Heights Wednesday. Two more mobile test sites — one in Queens Valley Playground in Flushing and another in Helen Marshall Playground in East Elmhurst — opened Thursday.

The three sites are the first federal testing sites to open in the city. At least three more are expected to open in the coming days, according to U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer — who is pushing for even more federal sites.

The openings come just days after several Queens officials called for greater COVID-19 testing capacity in the borough — especially for Queens’ youngest residents.

Council Member-elect Shekar Krishnan pushed for the first test site in Travers Park, in the district he will soon represent.

Krishnan, the father of a three-year-old, also advocated for more test sites specifically capable of testing children under the age of four in Queens. Only three city-run sites offer COVID-19 testing for children as young as two years old, despite that children under five cannot get vaccinated against the virus.

In a win for worrisome parents, the new CDC-run sites can test New Yorkers of all ages — including toddlers three and younger.

Altogether, the three CDC test sites will provide an additional 25,000 PCR tests per week. The sites are in communities most in need of testing.

Demand for tests has skyrocketed in the city over the past few weeks amid a massive surge in cases fueled by the Omicron variant. A record-shattering 150,000 people have gotten tested per day in the city, according to the city’s public hospital system.

The city reported a seven-day average of 11,499 new cases on Thursday, according to the latest data.

The new CDC mobile sites offer self-administered PCR tests and are open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Grateful that #JacksonHeights/#Elmhurst was one of the first federal sites in the country,” Krishnan posted on Twitter. “We were the epicenter of COVID and our need for testing capacity is great.”

He seconded Schumer’s calls for more federal sites. Schumer has asked FEMA to deploy 100 across the five boroughs.

“Echoing @SenSchumer that we need many more testing sites across NYC, immediately,” Krishnan said. “We remain woefully underprepared.”

The three CDC mobile test sites are located at 76-9 34th Ave. (Travers Park); the corner of 137th Street and 77th Avenue (Queens Valley Playground) and the corner of 100th Street and 24th Avenue (Helen Marshall Playground). The sites will be closed on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Another test site new to Queens is a city-run fixed testing site at the Newtown High School athletic field, located at 90-20 56th Ave. in Elmhurst. The site opened Tuesday and tests residents four and up.

Local Queens lawmakers have also worked with community-based organizations to open more COVID-19 test facilities.

State Sen. Michael Gianaris, Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani and Council Member Tiffany Cabán announced that a new PCR test site will open Friday at the Variety Boys and Girls Club in Astoria, located at 21-12 30th Rd.

The site will be open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily in conjunction with MetPath Laboratories. Results will be provided within 48 hours and insurance isn’t required. It will be closed on Christmas day and will run through Dec. 31.

The three legislators announced its opening two days after hosting a press conference to call on the city to increase testing sites in the neighborhood.

Mamdani said many residents have spent hours waiting in the cold for COVID tests only to get turned away or never receive their results.

“We have been calling on the City to remedy this immediately, and we continue to do so,” he said in a statement. “But we cannot afford to wait any longer. We are in a crisis today, so we must respond today.”

Congress Member Grace Meng and Council Member-elect Lynn Schulman have also brought a pop-up COVID-19 testing site to Forest Hills. The site is open today from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Lady Queen of Martyrs, located at 72-55 Austin St., and is run by SOMOS Community Care.

The city is also handing out 2,000 free at-home rapid test kits in each borough, starting today. Lines at today’s Queens location, located at 37th Avenue and Junction Boulevard in Corona, wrapped the block.

Tomorrow, the city will hand out the 2,000 free at-home test kits at Jamaica Avenue and 92nd Street in Woodhaven beginning at 9 a.m.

New Yorkers who are 65 years and older and/or immunocompromised can also schedule an appointment to be tested for COVID-19 in their own homes by calling 929-298-9400.

To find a COVID-19 test site near you, visit nyc.gov/covidtest.

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16 Comments

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Gardens Watcher

Western Queens needs more city testing sites, or at least another van at the Woodside NYCHA site. I passed the city site at Brooklyn Navy Yard yesterday, which is a PCR saliva test, and there was NO line. I was in and out in minutes, and am expecting results today — within 24 hours.

The city sites run by NYC Health and Hospitals are all free and results are given within 24 hours because they have their own lab.

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one failure after another

what a complete mess. Nothing improved from same time last year.
biden, debasio, you could do better than this?!
i guess not, since were talking about the democratic party

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Tina

Adams will stop many of the mandates because certain groups consider them racists when you look at which group is least vaccinated in nyc.

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Jackie

The president said to be cautious but not to panic. He also said if you are fully vaccinated and got your booster you can celebrate the holidays. Hochul reduced quarantine time after you test positive for healthcare and critical workers to 5 days as long as you do not show symptoms and wont even require a negative covid test. Slowly they are going to handle this like the flu. And just expect everyone to be responsible. Merry Christmas.

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Tamra

Seniors, people with disabilities and children should be given priority when it comes to testing. They also need to open more testing sites and prioritize free testing kits in black and brown communities.

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Thanks (again) for making communities colorful!!

Don’t want to hear that racism is a white only thing!!!

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Dafne

All I want to do for Christmas is oversleep in a comfortable bed with no city noise and loud partying noise from my neighbors. Then wake up, read a novel, and spend time in my backyard with my grandkids. Can not wait to move out of this city and be near my grandkids. I do understand that covid surge anywhere but i just want to be so close to people and noise anymore. NYC life is only for the young and poor.

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Robert

What I notice is about 20 to 40% of people not masked up in the trains or with mask below nose. It didn’t bother me much a few weeks ago but now it does with omicron I bought a really good set of KF94 very breathable so I feel better about being in train with unmasked people.

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Talitha

A lot of social media posts about Karen’s and Ken’s scolding and being rude to testing staff because of the wait time in western queens.

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Tina

A doctor from mount sinai was asked about holiday gatherings on tv and said you can test today have negative results and catch covid tomorrow. A lot of those people waiting in line are getting tested because they have the time too and not because they feel sick. Many will not isolate after testing positive. With delta we were told not to get tested unless we had symptoms. And so far delta was more deadly. Then you have a good number of people that are not getting tested especially if symptoms are mild because they need to work and cant take time off. Cases will continue to rise and decline as less people get tested and the initial paranoia dies down.

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Sara

Delta was also contagious and so far more deadly than omicron. But we were all told not to get tested if we been vaccinated or unless we were very sick. Hence numbers went down. Now more people are getting tested which leads to more cases.

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