You are reading

City’s Delay in Opening a COVID-19 Test Site in Rockaways Cost Lives: Richards

AdvantageCare 29-15 Far Rockaway Blvd. (Google Maps)

May 27, 2020 By Allie Griffin

The city opened its first COVID-19 testing site in Far Rockaway yesterday, nearly three months after the start of the pandemic — a delay a local council member said cost lives.

City Council Member Donovan Richards who represents the hard-hit neighborhood said many lives could have been spared from the devastating virus if the area had gotten testing from the city sooner.

“I commend the Mayor on opening two new sites in the Rockaways but we’ve pushed for more testing sites on the peninsula months ago, and I believe if we had them, we probably wouldn’t have had so many deaths,” Richards said.

The new testing center that opened Tuesday is run by AdvantageCare Physicians in partnership with the city. Two city-run testing sites will open in Far Rockaway tomorrow and next Thursday, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced yesterday.

The neighborhood has the third highest death rate in the city — and more than twice the citywide death rate — but has had no city-run coronavirus testing centers up until yesterday.

The virus spread throughout the predominantly black neighborhood and infected 2,223 people, killing at least 293 people in the area covered by the 11691 zip code, as of today at 1 p.m.

Across the whole Rockaway Peninsula, COVID-19 has killed 475 residents — though the death count is likely higher.

The Health Department has only released the number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths by zip code. The numbers don’t include the 4,752 probable deaths citywide, in which a person’s cause of death was determined to be coronavirus-related, but they didn’t test positive for the virus while alive.

Black and Hispanic New Yorkers have also died at roughly twice the rate of white New Yorkers and the death rate increases as income level decreases across the city.

The Rockaways is illustrative of the disparity — Breezy Point, covered by the 11697 zip code on the western end of the peninsula, had just two deaths and 104 cases of COVID-19 — a stark contrast to Far Rockaway’s numbers.

Far Rockaway residents are predominately black and Hispanic and more than 20 percent live below the poverty line, while Breezy Point residents are predominately white and only 3 percent live in poverty, according to census data.

“Our black and brown, low-income communities have historically been last or left out of every step of planning and executing,” Richards said. “That’s just not acceptable during a pandemic.”

“With Far Rockaway being one of the hardest hit areas, residents should’ve gotten priority testing closer to where they live and their socio-economic status shouldn’t have determined that.”

email the author: news@queenspost.com
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Preserving Tradition, Embracing Innovation: A Journey through Katz’s Delicatessen

May. 22, 2024 by Jill Carvajal

In this episode of Schneps Connects, we delve into the captivating history and enduring legacy of Katz’s Delicatessen, a cherished institution in New York City since 1888. Jake Dell, the fifth-generation custodian of Katz’s, joins us to recount the deli’s evolution amidst the ever-changing landscape of NYC. From its iconic “Send a Salami to Your Boy in the Army” campaign to the traditional ticket system, Jake shares insights into the family business and invaluable lessons for entrepreneurs, especially in the demanding restaurant industry of NYC. He unveils some of Katz’s secrets, including the meticulous pastrami-making process that sets them apart, and discusses the enduring allure that keeps customers lining up daily. From expanding catering services to international shipping, Jake reflects on the milestones and challenges of running Katz’s, highlighting his proudest achievements and future aspirations. With a nod to its celebrity following and film appearances, Jake offers a glimpse into the deli’s cultural impact and what lies ahead for this beloved New York institution.

Op-Ed | On housing, Ron Kim is all talk, no action

May. 22, 2024 By Yi Andy Chen

Housing affordability is the biggest issue in our state. In Flushing and the surrounding parts of Queens comprising  Assembly District 40, over half of renters are drowning in high rents, yet our current representative, Ron Kim, has done little to alleviate this burden.