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Nassau County and Mount Sinai Hospital to expand Covid testing at Long Beach facility, saying testing is still needed even though cases are declining

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A medical facility in Long Beach that offers testing for the coronavirus to people enrolled in the Mount Sinai South Nassau Hospital system will soon provide such services to all residents on the barrier beach, Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and hospital officials announced Thursday.The expanded services to all barrier beach residents will begin Tuesday, June 23.

The Mount Sinai Nassau Primary Care Center at 761 Franklin Blvd., offers testing for the Covid-virus, which has hit the barrier beach hard. According to Curran's office, there are 740 confirmed cases in Long Beach.

Curran Thursday described Long Beach as "a high-risk area," because it is densely populated, with about 33,000 residents living in homes close to one another. Long Beach is also a tourist destination, drawing visitors from New York City and the rest of the metropolitan area.

Asked whether the facility's services should have been expanded earlier during the coronavirus pandemic, Curran said, "I believe it is never too late to do the right thing."

Curran noted that the number of coronavirus cases continues to decline across Nassau County. But the key to keeping the numbers down, she and hospital officials said, is to continue testing for both the virus and antibodies that fight the virus. Tests for both will be available at the center. Covid tests are conducted with the patient in his or her car. Antibody testing, which consists of drawing blood, must be done inside the center.

The county has opened testing facilities in other at risk areas, including Hempsztead, Freeport and Valley Stream.

State Sern. Todd Kaminsky, a Long Beach Democrat who was at the press conference,said he had heard from members of the clergy in Long Beach that people on the barrier beach were finding it difficult to find and get to testing centers.

"I knew then that this was something we had to tackle," Kaminsky said.

James Hodge, chairman of the Martin Luther King Center in Long Beach, thanked the officials for expanding covid testing.

"This will help our town and our state," Hodge said.

Dr. Aaron Glatt, chairman of the department of medicine at Mount Sinai, said hundreds of thousands of people in Nassau County have been tested, and that testing must continue. Glatt said that people who have been putting off regular visits to their doctors because of the virus, should return.

"Thank God we are seeing decreasing numbers of Covid cases," Glatt said. "This is the time to go back to your primary care doctor."

The center is open for testing Tuesday and Thursday, from 9 am to 1 pm. Appointments must be made by calling 516 544 2351.

Curran was asked if, like Gov. Andrew Cuomo, she will end her daily news briefings now that the coronavirus numbers low.

"We'll see," Curran said. "If we need to do them, we will."