May 30 2020, By Michel Dorgan
Another coronavirus testing site is set to open in Queens while families of frontline workers who died from the virus will receive death benefits, Governor Andrew Cuomo said Saturday.
The southeast Queens neighborhood of Hollis Hills is one of 10 outer borough areas that will open new sites as part of the city’s efforts to reopen on June 8.
The new sites – six neighborhoods in the Bronx, three in Brooklyn and the Hollis Hills location – have all been designated as “hot spot” areas, meaning they have significantly higher COVID-19 infection rates compared to the citywide average.
Increased testing in these areas will help bring down the infection rates, according to Cuomo.
“We need people to come out and get tested, find out who has the virus and who has the antibodies, who is possibly contagious,” he said at a press briefing.
Cuomo said that people living in densely packed housing complexes cannot properly socially distance and wants to do more to help them.
“We’re going to do more PPE, more hand sanitizer, more education, more communication about how important these things are. But we have to get deeper also,” he said.
“This is where the infection rate is spreading,” he said.
Hospitalizations, intubations and new COVID-19 cases across the state continue to fall, according to the governor.
The number of COVID-19 related deaths is also trending downwards with 67 fatalities reported for both Thursday and Friday. The daily death rate has not been this low since March 23 when 56 New York residents died.
However, New York City remains the only region in the state not to begin reopening.
Five regions – North County, Mohawk Valley, Southern Tier, Finger Lakes and Central New York – entered phase 2 Friday, the governor said.
Capital Region and West New York will end their 14 days under phase 1 next week and a decision will be made to see if they can transition to phase 2, he said.
The governor also signed into law a bill that gives death benefits to families of frontline workers who contracted and died of COVID-19 while on the job.
The measure applies to all state and local government employees, the governor said.
Cuomo praised the victims for their bravery and courage in responding to the pandemic.
“It is the least we can do to say thank you, and we honor you and remember you,” said Cuomo.
“You gave your lives for us. We will be there to support your families going forward.”