March 19, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
The city has opened coronavirus tent testing sites outside two hospitals in Queens – NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst (better known as Elmhurst Hospital) and NYC Health + Hospitals/Queens (often called Queens General Hospital)- in response to a surge in people contracting the virus.
Coronavirus cases in Queens have soared to nearly 1,000, with 3,615 cases confirmed across the city, according to the Mayor’s office this evening. There have been 22 fatalities in the city as a result of the virus.
The appointment-only sites – for residents with moderate-to-severe symptoms – are similar to those utilized during the H1N1 outbreak in 2009. Each site is expected to test 150 people daily.
The move is part of an expansive citywide test site rollout in collaboration with NYC Health + Hospitals. Eight other acute-care hospitals are setting up similar test sites. They include four hospitals in Manhattan; three in Brooklyn and two in The Bronx.
Seven community-based health centers run by Gotham Health are also setting up test sites. Gotham has two locations in Manhattan, two in the Bronx, two in Brooklyn and one in Staten Island. Each site will serve between 50 and 75 people per day and is also by appointment.
Four drive-thru sites are also being constructed but none of them are in Queens. They too are by appointment only.
The establishment of the 20-plus testing sites will bolster the city’s diagnostic capacity and help keep people seeking examination out of emergency departments, the Mayor’s office said.
“If we’re going to curb this epidemic, we need fast and expansive testing for those most at risk for serious illness,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.
People below the age of 50 who have no underlying health conditions are advised to stay home if they contract a mild dose of the virus, according to the mayor. They are advised to practice social distancing, and consult their health care provider only if their symptoms do not subside in three to four days.
The elderly and those with pre-existing conditions who show symptoms are advised to call 1-844-NYC-4NYC for more information.
Residents can continue to call 311 to be assessed for risk for COVID.