Drive thru testing for coronavirus in New York City and most of the tri-state area were closed Monday as heavy winds and rain whipped through the area, officials said.
All testing sites that involved areas with tents were closed as a precaution so as not to expose workers to the inclement weather. Tents set up to host the testing were secured before the rain came through, but officials said it was a necessary precaution.
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the closure earlier Monday morning during his press briefing and said the testing would resume at all the sites tomorrow. Indoor testing was not affected.
There are several drive-thru testing sites in the city, following the establishment on March 15 of the first site in New Rochelle where a rash of COVID-19 cases rocked the community.
The sites affected by the closure include Brooklyn’s Coney Island Hospital at MCU Parking Lot in Coney Island, Sears Parking Lot on Bedford Avenue in Flatbush, In the Bronx near Co-Op City, the parking lot of the Bay Plaza AMC Theater at 2210 Bartow Ave. was closed. Sites in Queens and the South Shore of Staten Island were also forced to close because of the weather.
While Govenor Andrew Cuomo continues to demand expanded testing and follow up testing of those who already had the virus, New York City public health officials say they are having a “serious shortage” of swabs they use to perform Covid-19 tests. Officials say they are worried that some hospitals will run out.Published reports say New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reiterated that “only hospitalized patients with symptoms should be testing for COVID-19 to preserve resources and swabs for patients with severe illness.”
The weather also hampered efforts at the mobile tent city set up by Samaritan Village in Central Park on Fifth Avenue across from Mt. Sinai Hospital, where volunteers were securing tents and fencing that were fluttering in the wind. However, officials there say the tents are holding up well and expected to maintain stability.