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Queens Community Board 2 Calls on City to Add More COVID-19 Test Sites in LIC, Sunnyside

COVID-19 testing line Long Island City

Residents wait in line for a COVID-19 test Friday outside the CityMD urgent care facility near Queensboro Plaza in Long Island City (Photo by Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

Dec. 20, 2021 By Allie Griffin

Queens Community Board 2 is calling on the city to add more COVID-19 test sites in Long Island City, Sunnyside and Woodside.

Community Board 2 leaders penned a letter to Mayor Bill de Blasio and Mayor-elect Eric Adams Monday urging them to add more city-run sites in the western Queens neighborhoods they serve.

Residents have reported waiting on testing site lines for up to four hours and waiting several days for PCR test results.

“Community Board 2, Queens is writing to you to express the Board’s deep concern about the state of COVID-19 testing in our community and across the borough of Queens,” CB 2 Chairperson Morry Galonoy and CB 2 District Manager Debra Markell Kleinert wrote in the letter.

“With winter upon us and the arrival of another wave of infections, residents of the board district are being subjected to long waits of as much as four hours in cold temperatures for a COVID test.”

Their letter comes on the heels of multiple record-breaking days for the number of new COVID-19 cases in the city.

New York State reported 23,391 new cases Monday — the highest number in a single day since the pandemic began in March 2020. In the five boroughs alone, nearly 7,000 people are testing positive for COVID-19 each day based on the average of a seven-day period.

Experts believe the more contagious Omicron variant is playing a role in the skyrocketing cases. The variant accounts for at least 13 percent of NYC cases tested, according to the latest data.

Demand for testing is also up as people prepare to travel and gather with others for the upcoming holidays. More New Yorkers are getting tested than ever before during the pandemic. About 130,000-plus city residents are getting swabbed each day in city-run sites alone, according to the mayor.

The increase in demand follows a drop in the number of city-run test sites — which Queens Community Board 2 said was troubling. The city reportedly shuttered 20 city facilities last month ahead of the current surge in cases, according to an analysis by THE CITY.

“We are truly confounded that test sites would have been closed as we approached the colder months,” Galonoy and Markell Kleinert wrote. “… If there’s anything we’ve learned after nearly two years of this pandemic, it’s that with cold weather and holidays that bring travel, we get spikes and an increase in demand for testing.”

Sunnysiders line up for a COVID-19 test outside CityMD on Greenpoint Avenue (Photo: Queens Post)

De Blasio, however, announced that the city is adding nearly two dozen testing sites this week. The city will bring 23 additional sites online this week on top of the 89 test sites now running. By the end of the week, there will be 112 city-run sites across the five boroughs — including both brick-and-mortar sites like those at public hospitals and mobile test sites.

“Getting tested is absolutely crucial [as is] making sure we have enough sites, enough resources, enough test kits,” de Blasio said at a morning press conference. “We’re working on all these fronts.”

It’s unclear if any of the new sites will be located in the communities covered by Queens Community Board 2. The mayor did not provide details as to where the 23 new sites will be located but said the city will utilize healthcare facilities, schools, libraries and community centers for the facilities.

The greater Long Island City- Astoria area had the tenth highest transmission level among New York City neighborhoods as of Monday. There have been 811 new cases per 100,000 people in the last seven days, according to city data.

Queens Community Board 2 also said that residents are concerned that the city has contracted testing sites — largely mobile sites — to private health companies. They said the sites run by private contractors have longer wait times and residents worry about giving their personal information to them.

“…[M]any of the City-run testing centers have closed and been replaced in our area by private contractors,” their letter states. “… Many of our constituents and neighbors worry about who is handling their information and where their personal and medical information is going.”

De Blasio said that supervisors from the city’s Test and Trace Corps will be visiting all its private-vendor test sites starting today as “another measure of accountability” — and to ensure that each site is properly staffed.

“We overall have had very good results from our test sites, including those run by vendors,” he said. “But we want to make sure we have our eyes on them every day to make sure there’s high quality and consistency and that the hours are as stated.”

The mayor, however, said another issue that is leading to greater wait times both to get a test and test results is a shortage of staffers and available test kits as the staff themselves come down with COVID-19.

He said he is working with the White House to get more supplies and has established a reserve of healthcare professionals in instances where test site staff call out sick.

“We’re going to be doing more to make sure there’s continuity, consistency, quality at the test sites,” de Blasio said. “But … we welcome the feedback from all New Yorkers to know how we can do better and we’re going to keep making adjustments and improvements every step along the way as we fight through this challenge.”

CB2 calls for more testing … by Queens Post

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19 Comments

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Gardens Watcher

Question for electeds, especially JVB and Julie Won: Why are there still NO NYC Health + Hospitals sites in Sunnyside? City MD is closing here due to staffing issues and I don’t trust the pop-up tents.

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Gardens Watcher

They should have never dismantled the NYC Health & Hospitals site on Northern Blvd. Put the high school construction on pause and bring it back!

The testing pop-up card table at the 40th Street 7 train stop is a joke. I wouldn’t go to any of the other private contractor tents either.

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Vicky

We live in a city with close to 9 million people. If you are vaccinated and got a booster shit chances are that if you catch the Omicron strain your symptoms will be mild. Mild enough that there will be a good number of people who wil find out they test positive and obviously attend small or large gatherings, public transportation and business. You can get something over the counter to stop a runny nose or take something for a headache. All you need is vaccination proof to eat indoors, theater, gym, etc. and do not need a covid free test.

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ABoondy

thanks but i’m saving up to get out of here. cant even imagine how bad things will get. no eating out for me or wasting money on theater, gym, etc.

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Then you aren't a New Yorker

So you basically don’t live here anymore, your opinion is worthless. Send us a postcard from Alabama!

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John

We need more testing! We need to test everybody and everything…500 million test kits from the WH , $13 billion dollar cost, to test if you have covid (not treat it, or prevent it)!!

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JM Maspeth

Is it really that hard to understand that the purpose of testing is to provide people with the knowledge of their status so they can then make responsible decisions with regard to protecting their families and others?

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Carla

I have just had my third nyc social event cancelled in as many days because the young host tested positive (20s, 30s). They would have never known since they just felt crummy and tired for a few days. I am immune compromised and am thankful that they cancelled after results came in. Glad testing is a priority for all these folks. They are looking to protect us more vulnerable.

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Doug

Back when there was the big first surge, my aunt (in her 70s) went to the doctor. She was the last patient her physician saw that day because he wasn’t feeling well. This jerk wasn’t feeling well and saw patients throughout the day. He ended up dying from COVID and my aunt luckily didn’t catch it. She has pretty much all of the pre-existing conditions that make you more likely to die from it. Many people are testing positive who have been vaccinated and even have boosters so…be careful and get tested!!

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Sara Ross

I think we should stop using the name Karen for every white woman who says or does something about somebody black. What do we call all of the blacks who commit crimes every minute of every day to whites, asians, the elderly, other blacks and even children – Leroy? About Covid – if people did what they were supposed to do for more than 1-1/2, we wouldn’t be going backwards with the pandemic. Why do people have to be paid for doing what’s right? These are adults not 5 year olds who won’t get dessert if they don’t eat their vegetables! Money is better spent elsewhere and I want to know where the hell is Bun Head’s money that Big Foot gave her?

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Dave

Sara – You make some sense but appear to be terribly naive. Adults don’t always act like responsible adults. That’s just the reality of life. Education levels of street criminals are appallingly low so in actuality we’re dealing with stupid children. $100 is actually money well spent and does save thousands of dollars.

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Jill

If this is going to happen make sure they open covid testing sites by the Queensbridge housing area in LIC otherwise AOC and Tiffany Caban and the rest of them will complain and make it a racial issue. LIC can hire private security to patrol the area.

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white jackets no puffers

those private test sites, the guys at the tables wearing a puffer jackets and saw one guy blasting music. Who are these people? Are they qualified? Who in their right mind would let these people stick swabs in their noses?

Biden was handed 250million vaccines and he hasnt done ANYTHING beyond trying to give vaccines out. The guy is a complete failure. He gave a great speech though, warning about the “winter of death” upon us.

Europe has abundant rapids home test for $1. We have squat. Fauci said last summer they were coming. 1.3 years later we got what we have. Merry Christmas everyone!!!!

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doofus

Biden was actually not handed millions of vaccines. Biden had to quickly order millions because the prior admin didn’t do it. You’re not making sense. Even if what you’re saying is true, pushing to have vaccine available is something Trump wasn’t interested in. He was more interested in downplaying the virus and it would “wash over us and be gone.” He cared only about his re-election.

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Martha

A lot of Karen’s and Ken’s need the likes on social media in our area before they head home for the holidays.

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