The city’s Health and Hospitals Corporation said it would set up sorely needed mobile COVID testing sites this week in Jackson Heights and Corona. Residents there are still waiting.
Despite four-hour lines at COVID testing sites across Queens, HHC did not set up the testing locations as scheduled. A site that was supposed to administer tests Monday through Friday at Travers Park in Jackson Heights never opened due to inclement and severely cold weather, an HHC spokesperson said. HHC said the location will open Friday.
To make matters worse, the testing site location is listed incorrectly on the HHC website, which says Travers Park is in Cypress Hills, Brooklyn.
The Eagle learned about the missing test site when a reader reached out to say they had tried to visit three times. Another sent a photo of the place where the test site was supposed to be Thursday.
State Sen. Jessica Ramos was on her way to get a COVID test at Elmhurst Hospital when contacted to see if she knew about the missing site. Minutes later, she said she contacted city officials and learned that the Travers Park testing site was closed “due to weather” despite the sunny skies Thursday.
Another mobile testing site in Corona has also yet to open, said Assemblymember Catalina Cruz, who reached out to officials after the Eagle contacted her about the Jackson Heights location. She blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio and city agencies for failing to inform local leaders and communities about the closed test sites.
“The failure to inform the local elected officials and community that these sites would be closed during cold weather is yet one more example of Mayor de Blasio’s complete incompetence,” Cruz said.
“It is incredibly frustrating to hear him announce seemingly great initiatives meant to save lives, that once again fail to deliver,” she said. “These are matters of life and death for my community.”
The 7-day COVID test positivity rate in Corona’s zip code 11368 reached nearly 6 percent Monday, according to the most recent Health Department data. Jackson Heights’ zip code 11372, where Travers Park is located, reached 2.82 percent. Both neighborhoods were among the hardest hit communities in New York City during the pandemic’s peak.