Brooklyn Council Member Dr. Mathieu Eugene has thanked Gov. Andrew Cuomo and The National Guard for setting up a free COVID-19 Testing Site at the Sears Parking Lot at 2307 Beverley Rd., in Flatbush, Brooklyn.
“On behalf of my constituents, I would like to thank Gov. Cuomo for opening this very important testing center for COVID-19 in the 40th District,” Eugene, who represents the 40th Council District, told Caribbean Life on Monday.
“I also want to commend The National Guard and the many healthcare professionals who are working tirelessly to provide this critical testing in the district I am privileged to serve,” he added.
Dr. Eugene said testing will be appointment only, urging the public to call 1-888-364-3065.
“We are fighting a horrible virus, which affects everyone, and is increasingly dangerous for the elderly and those with compromised immune systems,” he said. “I want to commend the many healthcare workers both locally and from across the country who are risking their own health and that of their families to protect New Yorkers from this pandemic.
“While several medications have been tested, there is no approved treatment or vaccine for COVID-19,” he added. “That is why it is extremely important for all of us to do our part to prevent the spread of this virus.”
Dr. Eugene said he also appreciated “the substantial adjustments and sacrifices that New Yorkers have made to protect our community during this health scare.
“The practice of social distancing, covering your mouth and nose when in public, washing your hands, and staying inside while taking care of loved ones are not easy, but allow us to collectively preserve and maintain the wellbeing our city,” he said.
“I am urging everyone in the community to call the number listed to get tested for COVID-19,” he added. “I appreciate your continued cooperation during this very difficult moment, and may God bless you and your family.”
Earlier this month, Brooklyn Sen. Zellnor Y. Myrie led a joint letter with 23 Brooklyn elected officials in calling on the Atlanta-based Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the manufacturer of testing equipment to allow COVID-19 testing at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University Hospital in Brooklyn.
The officials wrote that “SUNY Downstate is prepared to move forward with on-site testing – with personnel and certifications already in-hand – but will require a COBAS 6800 testing machine, which is subject to the Center for Disease Control allocation strategy.
“This equipment is critical to the borough’s and Downstate’s needs, and it would allow more than 1,500 tests a day to begin being processed in Brooklyn,” wrote the elected officials, copying the letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo.
“Further, we understand that Downstate is also prepared to develop a drive thru testing site, which we believe is also critically important and timely,” they added.
“Director Redfield, as the representatives for Downstate and surrounding neighborhoods across Brooklyn, we remain available to you and your team to assist in any way possible with bringing on-site testing to our borough, and we look forward to learning more about potential next steps,” the legislators continued.
Besides Myrie, the elected officials comprised: Assemblymembers Diana Richardson, N. Nick Perry, Charles Barron, Felix Ortiz, Joseph Lentol , Latrice Walker, Jo Anne Simon, Helene Weinstein, Walter Mosley, Peter J. Abbate, Jr. and Mathylde Frontus; Congressmembers Yvette Clarke; Nydia Velazquez , Jerold Nadler and Hakeem Jeffries; and State Senators Diane Savino, Simcha Felder, Julia Salazar, Andrew Gounardes, Brian Kavanagh, Velmanette Montgomery, Kevin Parker and Roxane Persaud.
Myrie, who represents the 20th Senatorial District in Brooklyn, said: “New York is now the epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak, and we are well behind where we need to be on testing.
“In the midst of a public health crisis, the fact that we are unable to leverage Brooklyn’s flagship teaching hospital is unacceptable,” he added. “Let’s cut the red tape and get to work.”
Perry, the Jamaican-born representative for the 58th Assembly District in Brooklyn, said that “Central Brooklyn is quickly becoming the epicenter of the pandemic.
“Yet, another day has passed and the CDC has not responded to SUNY Downstate Hospital’s urgent request to begin testing,” he said on his Facebook page.
“I’m appealing to my colleagues in government and members of the media to help bring testing where it is needed most,” he added. “How many more Brooklynites have to be turned away for tests? How many more have to die?”
The next day, Perry wrote that an unidentified representative from a local hospital told him that “masks right now are one of their greatest needs.
“To hear our ‘Embarrassment in Chief’ imply that NYC hospital workers are stealing masks, and misusing them is just deplorable, even by his low standards,” said the assemblyman clearly alluding to US President Donald J. Trump.