Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo announced two new COVID-19 drive-through testing facilities in Brooklyn, including one at a Sears Parking Lot in Flatbush that opened on April 10 and a walk-in site in Brownsville that is set to open later this week.
The new facilities aimed at neighborhoods disproportionately affected by the novel virus are two of nine state health department testing sites statewide. All testing sites are appointment-only and to schedule a test, readers can call (888) 364—3065.
This comes after Mayor Bill de Blasio shut down testing facilities on March 20, citing shortages in personal protective gear for staff and heavily restricted testing to walk-in patients who needed to be hospitalized.
This is an effort to help minority communities that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic as more than half the city's reported coronavirus deaths as of April 12th are people of color, according to the data released by the City.
"We are going to increase testing and open new testing sites to collect more data in African-American and Latino communities so we can better understand why this virus kills and has higher fatality rates in certain communities, and what we can do to address it," said Governor Cuomo, during his press conference on April 9.
As of today, Brownsville's 11212 zip code has 915 confirmed cases and Flatbush's 11226 zip code has 1089 confirmed cases, according to the report published by the New York City Department of Health.
Following Governor Cuomo's orders, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on April 12, the opening of five city-operated COVID-19 testing facilities in predominantly black and latino neighborhoods at NY Health + Hospital locations, including one in East New York, Brooklyn, that is set to open by the end of next week.
The new city-operated testing sites are the first COVID-19 testing facilities the mayor's office has opened for patients outside public hospitals.
The testing site in East New York will most likely operate out of Gotham Health, East New York on Pitkin Avenue by Pennsylvania Avenue, according to Brooklyn Paper, though they have not announced the opening day or how residents can make appointments.
"We see a clear disparity in the impact, who's been hit hardest, communities of color, lower income communities, immigrant communities, folks who are vulnerable already because they haven't had the health care they needed and deserve throughout their life," said Mayor De Blasio during his press conference on April 12.
Elderly residents and locals with pre-existing conditions from the community will be given more priority for testing, Mayor De Blasio added.
Mayor De Blasio also announced on Tuesday, that New York City will begin producing up to 50,000 coronavirus test kits per week in May.
Commercial labs, academic institutions in the City will work with New York City's Economic Development Corporation to increase the supply of test kits, de Blasio said.
New York businesses interested in helping can email TestHelp@edc.nyc to inquire about joining the initiative.