As the rate of coronavirus infections continues to rise on Long Island and across the state, Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin and the Town Board have implemented three major Covid-19 testing initiatives in an effort to combat the incoming second wave.
During a special meeting, the board unanimously approved the measures, which include free rapid and diagnostic Covid-19 testing for Town of Hempstead residents through Dec. 30. The program was made possible using funds from the town’s $133 million in federal CARES, or Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, Act.
The board approved up to $445,967 in grants to Mount Sinai South Nassau, which will open a drive-thru rapid testing site for Town of Hempstead residents in Oceanside. In addition, they also amended an existing agreement with Northwell Health, part of a $1.5 million grant approved in October, which expands its current diagnostic testing program for essential workers and first responders to also include free Covid-19 testing for all Town of Hempstead residents.
“Unfortunately, the coronavirus infection rates are rising across Long Island, and no community is immune from the spread of the virus,” Clavin said, according to a news release. “Utilizing federal CARES money, which was secured thanks to Senator Charles Schumer, we want to take on the second wave of Covid-19 by providing expanded free testing options for all residents.”
Under the agreement with MSSN, Town of Hempstead residents will have a dedicated phone line to make appointments for a drive-through rapid testing unit in Oceanside. The testing will be conducted at a mobile drive-through unit at the hospital, 1 Healthy Way, in Oceanside, six days a week, 12 hours a day from Nov. 29 through Dec. 30. More information on this program will be announced in the coming days.
The testing program with Northwell Health expands an existing collaborative effort to provide Covid-19 testing to first responders and essential workers. Free Covid-19 testing will be available for all town residents at various times and locations, by appointment by calling (516) 821-2500, until the end of the year. Through the town’s Covid-19 testing and education program with Northwell Health, more than 10,000 tests have been administered to Town of Hempstead residents. This effort included a six-week antibody testing program, a three-week diagnostic testing program in September for town residents, and an ongoing Covid-19 diagnostic testing services for first responders and essential workers that commenced in October.
In addition, the board announced an agreement with Baseline Health Management, LLC., to conduct mobile rapid Covid-19 testing for Town of Hempstead employees as they continue to provide residents with essential services throughout the pandemic.
“America’s largest township is committed to keeping residents safe in the midst of this second wave, and we are grateful to Mount Sinai South Nassau and Northwell Health for collaborating with our township in this mission,” Councilman D’Esposito said, according to a news release.
For more information on these testing programs, and the Town of Hempstead’s other Covid-19 initiatives and resources, visit hempsteadtownny.gov.
Courtesy Town of Hempstead; compiled by Mike Smollins