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Five Towns Community Center to become Covid-19 testing site

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In response to the increase in positive Covid-19 cases in the Lawrence and Inwood, County Legislator Carrie Solages (D-Elmont) spoke at the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence about the importance of establishing the center as a testing center.

Solages said during the Oct. 9 news conference that County Executive Laura Curran will announce “next week” that the community center will become a Covid-19 testing site.

“I’d like to thank County Executive Laura Curran, we reached out to her and she has been very responsive to us,” Solages said. “I’m not going to give the details now but we're going to have testing at the community center because we have to be more aggressive in handling this recent rise of Covid.”

Lawrence is the latest hotspot as state officials said that the community has had a Covid-19 positivity rate of 5.2 percent, which dwarfs the overall Long Island total of roughly 1 percent. Gov. Cuomo has designated the village as being in the orange zone of his Covid-19 hotspot map. 

In the orange zone, houses of worship are allowed 33 percent capacity, 25 people maximum. Inside and outside mass gatherings are 10 people maximum. High-risk non-essential businesses such as gyms and personal care are closed. Only outdoor dining is permitted, with a four-person maximum at a table. Schools are closed, with remote learning only.

Sasha Young, who heads Gammy’s Pantry inside the Community Center said having a testing   site is vital. “We have over 2,000 families in our community registered with Long Island Cares,” Young said. “Having a testing center local for families who are already receiving life-saving services here at the community center is essential, we thank Laura Curran and all of the local politicians who have made this possible.”

Former Community Center Executive Director and longtime board member Pete Sobol noted how Inwood is sandwiched between two hot zones in Lawrence and Far Rockaway. “The only way to contain this virus and protect our people is to test and we're going to do our part to make sure the spread of this virus stops at this center,” Sobol said. “It's the oldest community center in the state, it's a place where Martin Luther King Jr. has come and visited. It's a cornerstone of this community that has helped save lives for 115 years.”

Solages added that community members and leaders must take this increase in positive cases seriously. “We're at a very important time right now,” he said. “If we don’t take precaution with the increasing rate of Covid-19 in our community, we’re going to have a worse situation than where we were in March and April.”