COVID-19: NYC Quote of the Day 2020-07-10

Thursday, July 9, 2020, Chief Equity Officer Annabel Palma, NYC Test and Trace Corps - Bringing Rapid Point of Care Testing to Tremont

We had a great day yesterday, during our Get Tested Day of Action. We had many volunteers come out and it was amazing to see our community partners, our faith leaders, our local elected officials, but most importantly, our residents from the community helping us spread the word to make sure that individuals know that they can get a free COVID test at over 200 sites throughout the city. It was just energizing. We need to definitely continue to do this. The volunteers continue to call to make sure that there will be more days of actions.

As Chief Equity Officer for Test and Trace my job is to fight the disparities that this pandemic has caused to our city. And so by doing that, we need to make sure we engage communities who have been disproportionately affected by the virus. I served my community for 14 years as a Council member. Those communities that I had the privilege and honor to represent are the communities that have been hardest hit by COVID.

I want to tell you about two important ways that Test and Trace Corps is putting down roots and beginning to grow in our communities. Both of these efforts are possible because of our strong partnership with the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Recognizing the crucial role of community-based organizations play in the lives of New York, Health + Hospitals in collaboration with the Health Department is making available $10 million in grants to be awarded to more than 20 community-based organizations to support the Test and Trace efforts that have been going on. These grants will enable the groups that received them to educate New Yorkers on the importance of getting tested for COVID and engaging with contact tracers. The work will cover things like how to get tested, answering the call to provide confidential information to a contact tracer, once a contact tracer calls them on the phone or knocks on their door. They need to safely separate from loved ones to stop the spread of the virus and the guidance around precautions like social distancing, continuing to wear mask coverings, and safely reopening practices. The grant will run from July through November and amounts ranging from $50,000 to $750,000, depending on the reach and size of the organization and the proposals that they submit.

Starting this week in partnership with the Department of Health, we are launching a new hyperlocal response to prevent the spread at the grassroots level. With this effort, the City will pour resources and support services into neighborhoods where data shows there are low testing rates and high percentages of positive tests. A lot of people were afraid to get tested, predominantly because of their immigration status. And we want to make sure that people understand that this program has nothing to do with immigration status, but everything to do with the health and safety of yourself and your loved ones. The goal is to lower transmission with increased testing and wraparound services, using intense community engagement, public messaging, and working with the trusted local partners who know these communities and the community trusts what education and what message they bring to them.

Starting this week, we are bringing rapid point of care testing to Tremont. Testing results will be available in 15 minutes with resource navigators onsite, ready to assist people with support, including a free hotel room, if needed to safely separate from loved ones. We are also including three new mobile testing sites at the location. Bringing more testing to the communities with greatest need is how we can prevent the resurgence of COVID and protect the most vulnerable.
Edited for redundancy, grammar, and emphasis
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