With live racing suspended, Aqueduct Racetrack’s parking lot hosts coronavirus testing site

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

With horse racing suspended at Aqueduct Racetrack in Jamaica, its parking lot is serving as a SOMOS NY Health Testing Center site for the COVID-19 virus.

Testing is currently accessible to patients who have been referred by a medical professional and have a prescription to be tested for COVID-19.

“Many of my constituents are relieved to learn that a coronavirus testing site has opened at the Aqueduct Racetrack parking lot,” state Senator Joseph Addabbo said. “It is in times of emergency that we come together to help others, and this is why I appreciate the provider SOMOS, the city and the Port Authority for working towards making this site available. We must increase the number of testing sites if we are to identify those in need of medical attention and to credibly reduce the spread of this fatal virus.”

For more information and for questions regarding coronavirus call 883-SOMOSNY.

Meanwhile, The New York Racing Association suspended live horse racing until further notice after a backstretch worker who lives and works at Belmont Park tested positive for the virus last week.

“This individual and his roommate have been in isolation prior to racing last Friday and as such did not travel to Aqueduct for live racing,” NYRA President and CEO Dave O’Rourke said. “We are working with the county and state departments of health to ensure proper quarantine and sterilization practices will continue to be followed moving forward. We are focused on ensuring the health and safety of our entire backstretch community, as well as the horses in their care.”

A decision regarding the resumption of live racing and the upcoming Aqueduct stakes schedule, including the Grade 2, $750,000 Wood Memorial presented by Resorts World Casino on April 4, will be made at a later date.

“At this point in the COVID-19 crisis, we all need to be 100 percent focused on the health of our staff and the welfare of our horses,” New York Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Association President Joe Applebaum said. “When the industry comes out the other side of this, and we will, having as many healthy horses and humans as possible will be paramount.”

The Belmont Park backstretch and its facilities remain open to horsemen and operational for training. Owners will not be permitted access to the backstretch until further notice. Stabling and training at Aqueduct were closed permanently as of Jan. 1.