New York City used to be heralded as a city of public commuters and city walkers. Why is this now hurting us? Photo by Pamela Drew
New York City used to be heralded as a city of public commuters and city walkers. Why is this now hurting us? Photo by Pamela Drew, FLICKR

A COVID-19 drive-through testing center in Flatbush has been reported by Streets Blog NYC to be turning away residents without access to transportation. Sick individuals were told to either come to the testing center in a car, go to their physician, or simply don’t get tested.

The Flatbush testing site is located on Bedford Avenue in a Sears Parking Lot and has been open since last week. Residents took to Twitter to recount their experiences of being turned away because they were carless. Many are wondering who should be held accountable for these questionable procedures.

Brooklyn resident, Spencer Kiernan McGrath was one of the individuals turned away from the parking lot. “He (A COVID-19 testing center worker) seemed annoyed, but not with me. He told me that I was not the first person to ask him that day if I needed a car and that if I wanted to get tested, I would have to get a cab or an Uber and ride through.”

McGrath, to her dismay, eventually found a willing Uber driver to drive her through the testing center.

The only advice a New York City Department of Health representative provided was for residents to either go to a primary physician and pay exorbitant walk-in testing fees or take a cab and get tested for free.

When Governor Cuomo first announced New York’s commitment to widespread testing, he emphasized the need for testing centers to be accessible to meet the needs of all New Yorkers. In a city where only 45% of family homes have daily access to a car, the rules of COVID testing do not seem to reflect local demographics.

Jefferey Hammond, a spokesperson for the New York Department of Health, also spoke on the issue. While he did not comment on how dangerous testing policies are for taxi drivers, he did, in fact, confirm that New York was not working to find testing alternatives for residents without cars.

In a city heralded for its sprawling public transportation system, pushing residents to make New York green again, why is it that now residents need a car?

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Kimberlean Donis

Kimberlean Donis is a journalist based in Brooklyn. She is a student at Williams College majoring in Political Science and Art History.

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