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Elected officials and local leaders unveil new COVID-19 medical care unit at Astoria Houses

Elected officials and local leaders unveil a new temporary medical care unit at the Astoria Houses NYCHA complex on Thursday (Photo NYCHA)

April 18, 2022 By Michael Dorgan

Elected officials and local leaders on Thursday unveiled a new temporary medical care unit at the Astoria Houses NYCHA complex that provides free COVID-19 health services.

Governor Kathy Hochul, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Assemblyman Zohran Kwame Mamdani and NYCHA tenant leaders gathered to cut the ribbon for the medical unit, where healthcare workers administer vaccines and free COVID-19 tests.

The new medical care unit is staffed and operated by Floating Hospital, a Manhattan-based nonprofit that provides health care to underserved communities.

The temporary facility is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. It will remain open until March 2023, officials said.

Maloney said the unit will help address a shortage of vaccination sites in the neighborhood. There is only one permanent vaccination site within half a mile of the Astoria Houses NYCHA complex, she said.

“Health care is and should always be a human right…no one should be denied health care based on where they live,” Maloney said. “Lack of access to vaccines in Astoria Houses has led, in part, to a rate of COVID-19 cases in this ZIP code [11102] this is more than double the case rates of Queens and New York,” she added.

Elected officials cut the ribbon for a new temporary medical care unit at the Astoria Houses NYCHA complex (Photo via Kevin P. Coughlin/Office of Governor Kathy Hochul)

The rate of COVID-19 cases in the 11102 ZIP code, Maloney said, is about 30%, significantly higher than the borough and city. The rate is about 13.4% in Queens and 12.6% citywide.

Similarly, the COVID-19 death rate in the ZIP code, Maloney said, is about 616 deaths per 100,000 people, compared to 448 per 100,000 in Queens and 408 per 100,000 in New York.

The unit was designed by a research and development team from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and the Tuchman Foundation, a Colorado-based charity. Maloney said she worked with organizations to secure unity for the neighborhood.

Hochul said the new unit will play a role in ensuring New York’s post-pandemic recovery is inclusive, fair and just.

“That’s why it’s so important to have sites…bringing much-needed resources and services to communities that have been left behind for far too long,” Hochul said.

Representatives from NJIT, the Tuchman Foundation, and the Floating Hospital also attended the inauguration event, along with Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo.

The new temporary medical care unit at the Astoria Houses NYCHA complex (Photo: NYCHA)

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