New coronavirus testing site targeting NYCHA residents to come, mayor says

The Grant Houses were the leaders in roach complaints in 2019. (Photo via Wikipedia Commons)

Novel coronavirus testing sites will pop up near New York City Housing Authority complexes over the next week, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Wednesday. 

“Everyone in New York City has been hit hard by this pandemic but the residents of NYCHA have been hit particularly hard,” de Blasio said during his daily coronavirus briefing. One in 15 New Yorkers, or about 400,000 people, live in one of the over 178,000 apartments overseen by NYCHA. 

Three testing centers at Cumberland Health Center in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Belvis Health Center in Mott Haven and Gouverneur Health Center in Manhattan’s Lower East Side. 

Next week three more sites are coming online at the Jonathan Williams Houses in Williamsburg, Woodside Houses in Woodside, Queens and the St. Nicholas Houses in Harlem. 

The city will also be providing NYCH residents with face coverings, gloves and hand sanitizer to all senior buildings next week. So far, city agencies have already distributed NYCHA staff with 60,000 masks and 10,000 pairs of gloves. 

To fulfill the pledge to provide food to all New Yorkers in need, the City is enrolling all NYCHA senior buildings in the food delivery program over the coming weeks. This will make it easier for residents to get food delivered directly to their door. The City has already delivered 288,000 meals to 24,000 NYCHA households over the past month.

The mayor also announced that the city will expand its NYCHA wellness call program, live telephone calls to check on residents’ health and status of basic supplies like groceries, to all seniors and novel coronavirus-vulnerable residents. According to the mayor’s office, NYCHA has made 40,000 of these calls. 

Free Tablets and Internet Service for Seniors: The City is investing $5 million to provide free tablets and internet service for 10,000 senior residents to help them remain connected with their loved ones. In partnership with T-Mobile, the City will start rolling out this service next week for seniors in Brownsville followed by developments in Central Brooklyn, South Bronx, Eastern Queens, and Upper Manhattan. The City will also provide training for seniors on how to use these devices.

Cleaning Schedule: NYCHA’s third-party vendor is sanitizing common areas three times a week at family developments and five-times a week at senior developments. These aggressive cleaning schedules will be posted on the NYCHA website this week.

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