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Lawmakers bring free COVID-19 testing to district offices in Maspeth, Middle Village

FILE PHOTO: The spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant in New York City
People queue for a COVID-19 test as the omicron coronavirus variant continues to spread in Manhattan, New York City, U.S., Dec. 21, 2021. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo

Local elected officials have joined together to bring their constituents more testing as COVID-19 rates continue to surge, but no city-run testing sites are found in Middle Village and Maspeth neighborhoods.

More than 500 COVID-19 tests were administered on Saturday, Jan. 2, with the combined effort of Councilman Robert Holden, state Senator Joseph Addabbo, Assemblyman Brian Barnwell and Congresswoman Grace Meng. Tests were offered outside Holden and Barnwell’s district offices, free of charge with no appointments required. More chances to get testing at their offices are coming this week.

Testing will continue on Wednesday, Jan. 5, from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Jan. 8, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at Holden’s Middle Village district office at 64-69 Dry Harbor Rd. 

On Saturday, Jan. 8, testing will also be offered at Barnwell’s Maspeth district office from 3 to 7 p.m. at 55-19 69th St.

In conjunction with NYC Health + Hospitals, the tests offered at Holden’s office are PCR saliva tests, and results are available in 24 to 48 hours via email. If individuals haven’t received results within 48 hours, they should call or text 212-241-5227.

 

Holden took to Twitter last week saying there have been no efforts made by former Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration to put city-run sites in his district, despite local elected officials’ efforts. 

“Weeks into this surge, our district still doesn’t have a city-run testing site despite multiple requests,” Holden said. “Because @NYCMayor sees us a district of middle-class families who didn’t vote for him, this administration doesn’t give us vaccination or testing sites, or other sites.”

The New York Post reported on Jan. 1, from leaked emails, that the city uses race to decide where to allocate COVID-19 testing resources. The city’s Taskforce on Racial Inclusion & Equity identified 31 underserved communities to prioritize. According to the Post, despite Staten Island’s South Shore neighborhood having one of the highest COVID-19 rates in the city, the mostly white area has not received priority. 

Holden was emboldened by this, stating his mostly white, middle-class district should not be discriminated against and deserves protections from COVID-19.

“The virus doesn’t discriminate based on race, and neither should our city government,” Holden wrote on Facebook. “I look forward to working with the new administration to get our neighborhoods the services we pay for with our taxes.”

Woodhaven, parts of which fall into Holden’s district, was one of the neighborhoods selected by the task force.

The city justified this racially prioritized list by stating minority communities were hit the hardest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed in a study that the COVID-19 pandemic has indeed unequally impacted racial and ethnic minorities.

This week, testing vans are also being brought to several neighborhoods in Queens, including Woodside and Woodhaven area that also previously lacked city-run sites. Below are some of the testing locations available in the district in the coming week:

Thomas P. Noonan Jr. Playground (Woodside)

42nd Street and Greenpoint Avenue, Queens 11377
Monday, Jan. 3, to Sunday, Jan. 9
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Rapid antigen; ages 2+

Hart Playground (Woodside)

65th Street and Broadway, Queens 11377
Monday, Jan. 3, to Sunday, Jan. 9
9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
PCR; all ages

NYCHA Woodside 

50-37 Newtown Rd., Queens 11377
Monday, Jan. 3, to Sunday, Jan. 9
8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
PCR, rapid antigen; ages 4+

New Life United Methodist Church (Woodhaven)

8840 80th St., Queens 11421
Monday, Jan 3, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; and Tuesday, Jan. 4 to Friday, Jan. 7 from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Saliva self-test PCR site; ages 4+

To find a testing site near you, visit nyc.gov/covidtest.

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