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Corona councilman urges city to protect neighborhoods previously at the ‘epicenter of the epicenter’ of COVID-19

Photo by Gabriele Holtermann

Councilman Francisco Moya is urging the Corona community not to let their guard down as COVID-19 infection rates continue to rise in the area that was the “epicenter of the epicenter”of the virus last year.

Moya, who represents Council District 21, encompassing the Queens neighborhoods of East Elmhurst, Jackson Heights, LeFrak City and Corona, hosted an afternoon of COVID testing in partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals on Tuesday, Jan. 5 at Corona Plaza.

A table at the event also had several people with community organizations who helped distribute COVID information in various languages as well as personal protective equipment.

“This is a highly immigrant community, and for us, the responsibility is to ensure that we don’t make the same mistakes of the past,” the councilman said. “When the pandemic hit, no one knew what to do. The translations weren’t there. We’ve learned our lessons. We can’t let our guard down.”

In partnership with NYC Health+Hospitals, Moya is pushing for rapid COVID-19 testing and hands out PPE to residents in Corona. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)
In partnership with NYC Health+Hospitals, Moya is pushing for rapid COVID-19 testing and hands out PPE to residents in Corona. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

But some of the neighborhoods are seeing rising numbers of positive tests, with Corona (11368) at 12 percent, East Elmhurst (11369) at 11 percent, Jackson Heights (11372) at 6 percent, and Elmhurst (11373) at 11 percent in the beginning of the week, according to the city’s data.

A mobile testing site by the Park of the Americas was also available, where the line to receive testing was around the block since the morning. The site was scheduled to be stationed there all week from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., for the third week in a row.

People stand in line outside the COVID-19 mobile testing unit in Corona. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

Moya, who also got tested at the mobile site on Tuesday, said it’s a “good sign” that the lines are long for the relatively quick test.

“It means we are getting our message out and that people are doing their part,” he said.

NYC Council Member Moya is tested for COVID-19 at the mobile testing unit in Corona. (Photo by Gabriele Holtermann)

But Moya wants to see more action from the city to prioritize the communities that were impacted the most at the height of the pandemic.

“It is so critical that we involve all the relevant agencies right here to this community. We need to have more permanent solution. I can’t keep picking up a phone and begging to get a mobile testing van, in particular when this is the hot spot,” Moya said. “We know that this is an area in which the numbers have increased. This was the epicenter. They need to come and walk the streets here with me and look at what exactly is happening again. When businesses are suffering, when the essential workers aren’t getting relative access to the vaccine, when the community needs resources like masks and hand sanitizers. But more importantly, access to testing. The basic of things. It should be permanently placed here. And we can’t rely on the hospital because it will be overrun.”

For information on nearest testing locations and mobile testing, visit the city’s COVID-19 Information Portal.

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