COVID-19 testing draws long lines outside Westbury church
Diagnostic and antibody COVID-19 testing began Wednesday morning at the First Baptist Cathedral in Westbury – and there was a long line of people waiting outside when it first opened its doors.
It's part of a new partnership between New York state, Northwell Health and 24 different churches in minority communities.
The idea is to ramp up testing in those areas since state data shows that most new COVID-19 hospital patients are coming from neighborhoods with high African-American or Latino populations.
"Come out and get tested," said Bishop Lionel Harvey, of First Baptist Cathedral. "Take control of your own health, take control of your destiny. It's better that you know what's going on."
Lynne Poole was among many to come out for testing, and says the virus hit her community hard.
"We've had a couple of church members, unfortunately that we've lost to this dreadful disease," says Poole.
According to Northwell Health, each church will see around 100 patients per day. They'll perform both the antibody test and diagnostic testing for those who are still showing symptoms.
First Baptist Cathedral is one of two church testing sites on Long Island which will remain through Sunday. The other is Union Baptist Church in Hempstead, where testing will begin next week.
Suffolk County does not have a church testing site, and county Legislator Sam Gonzalez says that has to change.
"We need this in this community. We're over 4,000 positive cases for Brentwood alone. And that's alarming," says Gonzalez.
The tests are free of charge and by appointment only. To sign up, call 1-833-4CARE NY.