Elected officials and local leaders unveil new COVID-19 medical unit in Astoria Houses
Elected officials and local leaders unveil new COVID-19 medical unit in Astoria Houses

Elected officials and local leaders unveil new COVID-19 medical unit in Astoria Houses

Elected officials and local leaders unveil a new temporary medical treatment unit at Astoria House’s NYCHA complex on Thursday (Photo NYCHA)

April 18, 2022 by Michael Dorgan

Elected officials and local executives on Thursday unveiled a new temporary medical care unit at the Astoria House NYCHA complex offering free COVID-19 health care.

Gov. Kathy Hochul, Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney, Assemblyman Zohran Kwame Mamdani and NYCHA camp leaders teamed up to cut the cord on the medical unit, where healthcare professionals administer free COVID-19 vaccines and tests.

The new medical unit will be staffed and administered by Floating Hospital, a Manhattan-based nonprofit that provides health care to underserved communities.

The temporary facility is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays. It will remain open until March 2023, officials said.

Maloney said the unit will help address a shortage of vaccination sites in the neighborhood. There is only one permanent vaccination site within half a mile of the Astoria House NYCHA complex, she said.

“Health care is and should always be a human right … no one should be denied health care based on where they live,” Maloney said. “The lack of access to vaccines at Astoria Houses has in part led to a COVID-19 case rate within this postcode [11102] it’s more than double the case rates in Queens and New York City, “she added.

Elected officials cut the cord on a new temporary ward in the Astoria House NYCHA complex (Photo via Kevin P. Coughlin / Governor Kathy Hochul’s office)

The case rate for COVID-19 within zip code 11102, Maloney said, is about 30 percent – significantly higher than in the entire borough and city. The rate is about 13.4 percent across Queens and 12.6 percent across the city.

Similarly, the COVID-19 death rate is within the zip code, Maloney said, about 616 deaths per year. 100,000 individuals compared to 448 per. 100,000 in Queens and 408 per. 100,000 in New York City.

The unit was designed by a research and development team from the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) and The Tuchman Foundation, a Colorado-based charity. Maloney said she worked with the organizations to secure unity for the neighborhood.

Hochul said the new entity will play a role in ensuring that New York’s recovery from the pandemic is inclusive, fair and equitable.

“That’s why it’s so important to have sites … that bring much-needed resources and services to communities that had been left behind for far too long,” Hochul said.

Representatives of NJIT, The Tuchman Foundation and Floating Hospital also attended the ribbon-cutting event along with Deputy Mayor Lorraine Grillo.

The new temporary medical treatment unit at Astoria House’s NYCHA complex (Photo: NYCHA)

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