An upbeat Mayor Bill de Blasio delivered coffee and donuts to front-line health care workers Saturday, noting the city’s aggressive war against COVID-19 was showing signs of success.
“I think everyone knows, everyone here was a part of it, the first weeks of crisis when the disease just kept growing and growing,” the Mayor said at a recently-opened conronavirus testing center in the Bronx. “ … Thank G-d in the last couple of weeks we have a situation with improvement.”
The mayor said facilities like the one in Morrisania were critical to combating the spread of the disease that already claimed the lives of over 16,000 city residents. Those seeking tests were steered into a white testing tent, and the whole process once inside took about three minutes each.
The mayor also offered free hotel rooms for families who need to isolate a possibly infected relative to halt the spread of the virus as the city began to focus on community prevention and hospitals began to see a diminishing number of patients.
De Blasio spoke against the backdrop of a lengthy line of Bronx residents waiting for the test at NYC Health + Hospitals/Gotham Health and hoping for some peace of mind.
“My kids and my mom are the reason,” explained Crismeily Rodriguez, 24, who lives with her 60-year-old mother and the children. “I need to make sure that I’m OK. It’s a great idea. It’s good to have somewhere in your community.”
Rodriguez said she didn’t mind the hourlong wait: “You can have a 10-hour line and it’s worth it.”
Morrisania resident Hector Gonzalez, 42, said he wasn’t feeling any symptoms but decided to get a test just to calm her nerves.
“It gives me more comfort and it’s better to be sure about things,” he explained. “It’s more of a precaution. You know, you can have it and not know it … It gives me more security to know that I’m healthy.”
After waiting for about two hours, Gonzalez was tested and told the results would arrive in a few days. The operation will continue from Monday through Saturday, with hours from 9:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m.
The mayor offered his thanks to the clinic’s workers, particularly in a time when misinformation can be prevalent.
“You are so important, each and every person, and I think you know it,” said the mayor, who left without taking any media questions. “All of you are doing something absolutely crucial in this fight against coronavirus and I want to say thank you.”
“This is such an important movement, because now as we go out into communities we can do more to fight back disease,” he said.