You are reading

City to Distribute 500,000 At-Home Rapid Tests and One Million Masks as COVID Cases Rise

(Michael Appleton/Mayoral Photography Office)

Dec. 17, 2021 By Allie Griffin

The city will distribute 500,000 at-home rapid tests and one million masks to residents across the five boroughs as COVID-19 cases climb rapidly, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Thursday.

The announcement came at the same time that health officials released data showing that the seven-day average for new cases in the city had tripled in the last month.

“We have seen a very substantial increase in COVID cases in the last few days and it is clear that the Omicron variant is here in New York City in full force,” de Blasio said. “We are announcing a series of measures to address this situation.”

The distribution of at-home tests and masks is part of a multi-pronged effort to combat the rising cases, which health experts attributed to the Omicron variant.

The city is also expanding the number of COVID testing sites and hours, and launching a media campaign to encourage New Yorkers to get their booster shot. Officials will also continue to urge residents to get vaccinated, wear masks indoors and get tested regularly.

City Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said that vaccines and boosters have proven to be effective.

“Unvaccinated New Yorkers are eight times more likely to have a COVID-19 infection and they’re 13 times more likely to be hospitalized with COVID-19 [than vaccinated New Yorkers],” Chokshi said.

De Blasio announced the measures as lines for COVID-19 testing wrap blocks in all five boroughs and local businesses have temporarily shuttered due to staff members testing positive.

The city plans to open five new test sites and add more mobile testing vans around the boroughs. It will also open all existing city-run test sites seven days a week and provide at-home rapid test kits at high-volume brick and mortar sites.

Beginning Monday, the city will regularly distribute the same at-home rapid COVID tests and KN95 masks to 150 community-based organizations who will then hand them out to residents. The goal is to reach residents who are at higher risk or have fewer testing options in their area, de Blasio said.

Chokshi said he expects COVID-19 cases to continue to climb in the coming days.

“The data that we monitor so closely is showing an alarming trend,” Chokshi said. “Omicron is here in New York City, and it is spreading quickly.”

He said Omicron accounts for about 13 percent of cases in the city thus far, but that number will grow.

“We’re still contending with Delta, but Omicron is likely to outcompete Delta in the coming weeks and become the dominant strain, which is why we’re taking this rapid action today,” he said.

email the author: [email protected]
No comments yet

Leave a Comment
Reply to this Comment

All comments are subject to moderation before being posted.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

Recent News

Long Island City teen sentenced in fatal shooting of ‘beloved’ school teacher at Queensbridge Houses in 2020: DA

A Long Island City man on Friday, Jan. 28, was sentenced to 19 years in prison for the 2020 fatal shooting of a public school social studies teacher who was out walking his dog when he was caught in the crossfire during a confrontation between gang rivals in broad daylight, just blocks from his home, according to Queens District Attorney’s office.

Ike Ford, 19, of 12th Street, in Long Island City, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the first degree before Queens Supreme Court Justice Kenneth Holder. The teacher, George Rosa, 53, was shot in his abdomen by a stray bullet fired by Ford, who was just 17 years old at the time of the shooting but was sentenced as an adult given the severity of the crime, according to Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz.

LaGuardia Community College receives federal funding to expand vocational training for the unemployed

LaGuardia Community College recently received more than $400,000 in federal funding to enhance and expand vocational training for underemployed New Yorkers in a city that is still working to recover from COVID-19 pandemic-induced job loss. The support was secured by U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez and former Congresswoman Carolyn B. Maloney.

LaGuardia Community College President Kenneth Adams explained that the school lost nearly a quarter of its students at the height of the pandemic due to the economic effects of the lockdown on low-income Queens households.

BP launches new advisory panel for youth to become civically engaged in the future of Queens

In an effort to get more young people involved in civics, Queens Borough President Donovan Richards has created a new advisory panel known as the Youth and Young Adult Council to introduce the “youngest and fiercest” community advocates to both community service and organization.

Members of the advisory body will advocate concerns through means of community engagement by participating in one of two cohorts. The first will be made up of high school representatives between the ages of 13 and 17, while the second cohort will be comprised of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.

These Queens eateries are participating in the upcoming NYC Restaurant Week

NYC Restaurant Week is underway, so nix that skillet and bring family and friends to your favorite neighborhood spot, or get inspired and break bread somewhere new and different. During this special citywide culinary event, food-lovers will enjoy curated menus and prix-fixe prices that are easy on the wallet.

Bookings began on Jan. 17 and are available until Feb. 12, and you can reserve a table at 30 participating Queens restaurants, along with hundreds more across the five boroughs.