Apr. 3, 2023 By Danielle Louie
A sign was flipped over the door of the COVID-19 testing site located at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, marking it officially closed. To mark the special occasion, 15 hospital staff ‘heroes’ were honored for their hard work in front of a crowd filled with smiles and cheers.
Outside the door of what used to be a daycare center for the hospital, Amy Harris, Chief Implementation Officer and Associate Executive Director of Ambulatory care, honored the team by organizing a clap-out event. She was joined byhospital nurses, doctors, administrators, friends and family.
Over the last three years, this site had administered over 300,000 COVID-19 tests.
The group of 15 will now return to working at the hospital in Elmhurst, or be moved to a different position through their agency.
“This is very bittersweet. We are so glad we are able to say most of this pandemic is in our rear view mirror,” Harris said.
NYC Health+ Hospitals have closed all brick-and-mortar testing sites citywide, with all testing to be performed in-house moving forward. PCR tests can be administered through a regular doctor’s visit and patients are encouraged to pick up at-home COVID tests at the lobby of the hospital, or at other locations provided by the city.
Helen Landaverde, the chief executive officer of the Elmhurst Hospital Center said the closing of the hospital’s COVID testing site indicates that “we’re moving forward from something so horrible.”
More than 90% of New York City residents are vaccinated with at least one dose, according to the NYC Health Data. In addition to the high vaccination rate, New York City has been sustaining low positive testing, below 3%.
Both Landaverde and Harris continue to advocate for people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and to receive the follow-up booster shots, as well.
“No matter how many strains it becomes, with every strain, it gets weaker and weaker,” Landaverde said. “The only way for it to get weaker is for us to be vaccinated.”
Moving forward, Landaverde said that the testing center, which was once a day care center, could potentially turn into an administrative space, and due to the tight space at the hospital, some staff members are already looking to take over the space.
For COVID-related assistance, contact the citywide assistance hotline at 212-168-4319. To make an appointment at Elmhurst Hospital, contact 844-692-4692.