The efforts to host pop-up test sites and PPE giveaways are an attempt to ease the hours-long waiting lines at many existing test sites throughout the city, with some elected officials using their offices as testing sites.
Last week, a group of Queens politicians hosted a rapid test distribution in Kew Gardens. Assemblman Andrew Hevesi said that by working in conjunction with other elected officials, more supplies can be delivered to one of the hardest-hit areas of the country.
“I have to track down supplies, pull every string, call every favor in,” said Hevesi. “We all called in favors and got this pool of resources. The best bang for our buck is to do it together.”
Days before the end of the de Blasio administration, Hevesi said that he and his colleagues were able to get a “good stash” of supplies, including the highly sought at-home tests. But within minutes of the distribution site opening at 9 a.m. outside the YAI-Kew Gardens Multiservice Center, the rapid tests were all gone.
“As a team of electeds we’re doing our best to scratch and claw to get what we can and then get it out there,” said Hevesi.
State Senator Leroy Comrie helped distribute packs of K-95 masks, hand sanitizer and Clorox wipes to many who worked in the nearby center, including those from nonprofit organizations and the Queens District Attorney’s office.
With the rapid self-tests gone quickly, he pledged to see the employees get a delivery of self-tests when more are made available.
“All we can do is work with whoever it is and to make sure the deliverables get to where they need to throughout the city as quickly as possible,” said Comrie. “Clearly, this is a nationwide problem with supply and demand.”
Hevesi added that he’s looking forward to working with new mayor Eric Adams to combat the pandemic. With city schools back open after the winter break, Hevesi says that some extra precautions should be looked at as well in efforts to keep families safe.
“I look forward to the Adams’ administration doing a number of things differently, like engaging parents,” said Hevesi. “While I’m happy that the kids are in school, and agree with Governor Hochul that they should stay in school, there are some families whose circumstances require flexibility, that’s just part of modern-day life.
“I think we need to be more flexible with our parents,” he added. “I would ask them to consider, in limited circumstances, a remote option for some families and kids to help get them through these very difficult times.”
In Middle Village, elected officials hosted COVID-19 testing in conjunction with NYC Test & Trace Corps. On the test site’s first day on December 31, over 550 COVID-19 tests were conducted between the offices of Councilman Robert Holden and Assemblyman Brian Barnwell.
On Saturday, January 8, testing sites will be open at Holden’s office at 64-69 Dry Harbor Road from 10:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and outside Barnwell’s office at 55-19 69th Street from 3 to 7 p.m.