Dec. 28, 2021 By Allie Griffin
Officials are opening more COVID-19 test sites across Queens this week as COVID-19 cases continue to skyrocket.
The city, state as well as local lawmakers are all opening additional test sites to meet increased demand. New Yorkers have been waiting in lines for hours to get a coveted COVID-19 test amid a surge of new cases.
The highly contagious Omicron variant combined with holiday gatherings has seen the number of cases climb. Over the past seven days, more than 20,000 New York City residents have contracted the virus each day on average, according to the latest city data.
To help meet the demand, three western Queens legislators have opened a COVID-19 testing site at a local nonprofit in Astoria.
State Sen. Michael Gianaris, Assembly Member Zohran Mamdani and Council Member Tiffany Cabán announced Monday that they have added a mobile test site outside the Variety Boys and Girls Club on 21st Street that will run through the end of January.
It’s the second test site the legislators have opened at the nonprofit.
The site opened Monday outside the 30-55 21st St. club just three days after the initial site opened inside the clubhouse. It is open through the end of January, while the first site is more temporary and closes on Dec. 31.
The three legislators have been calling on the city to bring more test sites to Astoria amid a surge of new cases. They added both sites at the Variety Boys and Girls Club through their own organizing efforts.
“With Omicron continuing to surge, it is vital that we continue to increase our capacity to test, treat, and vaccinate our neighbors,” Cabán said in a statement.
The city’s testing capacity has yet to meet the increased demand for tests with the new Omicron variant.
“NYC is the epicenter of the Omicron variant today and yet it can still take hours in the cold for our neighbors to get tested,” Mamdani said.
The new site is open weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and doesn’t require an appointment. It’s operated by Ridgewood Diagnostic Laboratories.
The initial test site at the Boys and Girls Club is open each day from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Dec. 31 — in conjunction with MetPath Laboratories.
Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens CEO Costa Constantinides said they may extend the operation of the new testing site at the club past January if needed.
“With the need for testing in western Queens so great, we want to serve the community and ensure testing can continue for the month of January and beyond if needed,” he said in a statement.
The lawmakers said they have opened up both sites to help make up for the lack of action from the city to add more sites.
“The rapid spread of the Omicron variant has created great new demand for COVID testing,” Gianaris said. “Western Queens is underserved by the number of testing sites available, and we need more – now.”
They still want the mayor to vastly increase the number of test sites as demand rises.
“Working with my colleagues, we continue delivering real results here in western Queens – it’s time the city does the same,” Gianaris said.
However, the city has opened a handful of additional test sites — including one in Long Island City and one in Rockaway Park in — Queens this week.
The first opened Monday at the Culture Lab, located at 5-25 46th Ave. It’s open Monday to Wednesday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The second opened Monday at Beach Channel Educational Campus, located at 100-00 Beach Channel Dr. It’s open Monday to Thursday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The state is also opening a mass testing facility at York College — one of five state-runs sites across the five boroughs — Wednesday.
The state site, located at 94-45 Guy R Brewer Blvd., is open Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. New Yorkers can make an appointment here.
Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the site’s opening along with a dozen others throughout the state on Friday. She said the state will add more sites.
“We will continue to expand testing availability to every corner of the state, evaluating where more capacity and additional sites are needed soon,” she said in a statement.
— Dr. Berenecea Eanes (@Dr_BJEanes) December 28, 2021
To find a COVID-19 test site near you, visit nyc.gov/covidtest.