Assemblyman makes case for COVID-19 mobile testing sites
by Shane Miller
Apr 15, 2020 | 8931 views | 0 0 comments | 390 390 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Assemblyman Ron Kim (left) discusses mobile testing.
Assemblyman Ron Kim (left) discusses mobile testing.
Assemblyman Ron Kim joined the Coalition of Asian-American Independent Physician Association's (CAIPA) to announce efforts to launch mobile testing sites for COVID-19.

The group's plans include opening locations in Queens, Manhattan and Brooklyn that would be accessible to all New Yorkers.

Kim joined Dr. George Liu, president & CEO of CAIPA, at an initial demo run of their first intended location at 57-21 6th Avenue in Sunset Park.

Support and equipment for the mobile testing site were donated by BlueCross BlueShield and BioReference.

"This may be the biggest health crisis of our lifetime,” said Liu. “CAIPA is implementing mobile screening sites because screening those who may be infected is vital to control further spreading. This will help all New Yorkers to recover, retain social distancing, and regain confidence in our health care system."

The focus of CAIPA's testing initiative is a community-based mobile model. Its approach will include cooperating with local doctors and utilizing vans to reach areas with patients who do not have access to public transportation or cars.

CAIPA will also incorporate culturally sensitive procedures to more effectively reach out to immigrant communities, working with trusted local organizations to conduct testing in the heart of their respective neighborhoods.

However, the city and state officials still do not have a protocol and plan in place to help scale up mobile testing units.

Kim argued the need for systemic, widespread testing has become an increasingly urgent issue in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighted especially by growing criticism of the federal government's inadequate response to the disease.

At the testing site, Kim pressed for further expansion of testing for all New Yorkers, regardless of their status or current health condition.

On the latter point, the lawmaker stated that testing for serum antibodies will be crucial for determining which individuals, especially essential workers, can start getting back work, and that such a test may also have important implications for developing a treatment or even cure in the future.

“Widespread testing is a crucial step in combating the Coronavirus pandemic and bringing an end to the current crisis,” said Kim. “I implore the governor and mayor to work with us immediately in approving and expanding these mobile test centers.

“It must be available to everyone, regardless of their status,” he added, “because we are all susceptible to COVID-19 and because there are essential and frontline workers who are undocumented and risking their lives every day to save lives."
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