Lines to get tested for Covid-19 at CityMD locations have been stretching around the block in the past few days, with some people reporting waits of several hours.
“At 9 a.m. yesterday when the city MD on 88th and Broadway opens, there was a line snaked around the block to Amsterdam of at least 200 people,” wrote Britt Lacher in an email to West Side Rag. “I know someone who waited from 8am (an hour before they open) until 1:30pm to get a covid test.”
This appears to be happening in various parts of the city. There’s even a Twitter account devoted to tracking CityMD lines, though it focuses mostly on the one in Boerum Hill.
The demand for tests may be rising because people are getting tested to prepare to go home to other cities and see relatives during Thanksgiving. (It’s worth noting that health experts advise against gathering with family this year, even after getting a negative test both because of the potential for false negatives and the chances that the test doesn’t pick up recent exposure.)
CityMD offers free tests, and people sometimes start lining well before they open. They cut back on hours recently as their staff is dealing with so much demand, Gothamist noted.
CityMD, which also has multiple locations on Long Island, in Rockland and Westchester counties, and in New Jersey, began closing all of its locations an hour-and-a-half early this week. In an email to patients last week, the urgent care chain said, “Our site staff and doctors have been seeing patients well beyond normal closing time for months now, and we’ve reached the point where they are sacrificing their own safety and health.”
Assemblymember Linda Rosenthal is urging the city to open more testing locations in her district on the Upper West Side and Hell’s Kitchen. The Health & Hospitals Corp., which operates free testing sites, does not have locations in her district (though it does have one on West 100th Street). Rosenthal acknowledges that the UWS still has relatively low rates of Covid-19 as compared to other areas, but better testing access is “a key component in keeping those rates low.”
Read the full letter below (click to enlarge).
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