Covid rates soaring in South Queens 1

Lines wrap around the block next to the Richmond Hill testing site prior to Thanksgiving after the neighborhood had seen high Covid spread.

As the city’s seven-day Covid positivity jumped from 6.92 percent on Monday to 9.25 by Wednesday, South Queens has remained near the top of the city’s infection rate.

Three neighborhoods in the area have surpassed the rest of the borough in Covid positivity. Richmond Hill/South Ozone Park’s 11419 ZIP code had climbed to the third-highest rate of Covid in the entire city at 15.71 percent. Three surrounding ZIP codes 11420, 11416 and 11417, encompassing Ozone Park and South Ozone Park, had also ascended to be the next-highest rates in all of the borough — all with rates hovering near or above 15 percent.

After that area, Flushing and Murray Hill had the highest rate in Queens at 13.9 percent positive.

The South Queens area has continuously contained some of the highest Covid rates, ever since they started to tick up across the city in the month of October.

City data showed by the end of October that the Ozone Park-Richmond Hill area had exceedingly low rates of testing, contributing to the problem. Five neighboring ZIP codes in South Queens were among the 10 areas with the lowest rates of Covid testing in the whole city. The efforts of Councilwoman Adrienne Adams (D-Jamaica) to set up more sites in the area had met bureaucratic resistance.

Finally in mid-November, the city opened a testing site at the Lefferts Library at 103-34 Lefferts Blvd. The site is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., with molecular and antigen testing available, although the Health + Hospitals website says that rapid testing may be limited.

As the second wave spread through the area, residents have puzzled about why Covid’s spread in those neighborhoods have surged ahead of the rest of the borough.

Kamini Doobay, an emergency medicine resident physician at NYU Langone Medical Center and Bellevue Hospital who lives in the area, pointed out back in October that housing in the area tends to be in small houses that often quarter between four to eight people instead of apartment buildings with lower density units.

Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park)has also opened up his Rockaway office at 114-12 Beach Channel Drive in Rockaway Park to create a testing site on Mondays and Tuesdays except for Jan. 18 for the rest of the month of January.

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