Cuomo asks local governments to boost testing in low-income areas
Andrew Cuomo has asked all local governments around the state to follow New York City’s lead and test low-income communities in an effort to slow the spread of Covid-19 that continues at a faster pace there than in wealthier areas.
Extrapolating the results of an antibody test conducted in the state’s most populous city, the governor said on Wednesday that the next step in the fight against coronavirus was to target highly affected communities, which also tended to have higher proportions of African American and Latino residents.
“We did this research in New York City because it had the predominance of cases, but it is going to be true in every community across this state and across this nation.”
An antibody test of 8,000 people conducted at church sites across New York City’s five boroughs revealed that 27 per cent of this group tested positive for Covid-19 antibodies, but the rates were highest in the Bronx and Brooklyn, Mr Cuomo said. At church sites in specific neighbourhoods in those two boroughs, positive testing rates were about double the rate of 19.9 per cent for New York City overall.
Northwell Health, which conducted the initial antibody study, will double the number of churches they are working in to 44, while Somos Community Care will offer testing at 28 locations. That would bring the total number of testing facilities at faith-based sites in the city to 72, Mr Cuomo said.
In a further push to target “highly impacted” communities, testing in public housing developments would be expanded to 40 sites in New York City from eight, the governor added.
“The next step is outreach programmes. Getting the PPE into the community, getting the hand sanitiser into the community, explaining social distancing and why that’s important, and explaining how this virus spreads – it’s a public education effort,” Mr Cuomo said.
Additionally, from Thursday religious gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed statewide as long as face masks are worn and physical distancing measures are observed by attendees.
A further 112 people in New York state died from coronavirus over the past 24 hours, up from 105 on May 18.