SEIU Opens COVD-19 Testing Sites
The sites will test thousands of healthcare workers and seniors a week
Before the country can re-open medical professionals and elected officials are warning that COVID-19 testing needs to be expanded. While some states are already looking to re-open, other states are just trying to keep up with all of the people coming in with symptoms. In New York City, a failure on the national level has left the state and city scrambling to fill in the testing gap.
To fill in the gap, it seems like New York has turned everything with a parking lot into a testing site. The Aqueduct Racetrack, Jones Beach, and the Billie Jean Tennis Center have all been converted into drive-thru testing sites. The city also reached out to SEIU Local 1199, which represents healthcare workers in New York.
Throughout the crisis, SEIU has stepped up to help manage the crisis. After hospitals started saying they were running out of PPE, SEIU found suppliers who could provide tens of millions of masks and gowns. Now they were asked to help expand testing capacity and Local 1199 stepped up. Working with One Medical, they have opened five testing centers in each of the New York City boroughs. Altogether the SEIU/One Medical sites will administer 3,500 free tests a week to patients over 65 and to healthcare workers in hospitals and adult care facilities.
“Essential workers, including employees of adult care facilities and employees who care for people with disabilities — this’ll be sites where they can get tested,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “And these people do such important work. I want to say to everyone who was in those adult care facilities, everyone who’s caring for people with disabilities right now, again, you are among the unsung heroes of this crisis.”
While the testing sites will help to make sure that their members get first priority in testing, the union is also working to make sure that healthcare workers don’t infect their families. To do this, Local 1199 is working with Airbnb to provide free housing for the workers. This way, healthcare workers can stay in temporary housing and ensure that they don’t bring COVID-19 home to their partner or children.