NEW YORK - Public housing in the Rockaways is relatively quiet these days. But there are signs of coronavirus there - quite literally.
Inside a building at Redfern Houses there are signs warning residents about the coronavirus.
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It's unknown how many cases of COVID-19 have been in public housing in the five boroughs. The city isn’t tracking it.
“You look at almost any emergency that happens in the nation, people in public housing pay the highest price,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Monday.
Cuomo is partnering with this three-year old company, Ready Responders, to get some public housing residents tested.
They are piloting the testing program at eight NYCHA developments, including at Redfern Houses and Hammel Houses.
“You know the virus attacks in places of concentration which is why we have this issue in New York City in the first place,” said Cuomo. "Where are the places of concentration in New York City? Public housing is one of the greatest places of concentration and its one of the greatest places of health disparities in the first place."
Ready Responders sends paramedics or nurses into a person’s home to provide health care. They sent NY1 a demonstration video of how it worked in New Orleans. A doctor is video-conferenced in. NY1 spoke with the CEO Justin Dangel. He said they had about 5,000 COVID test kits so far in New York and 100 employees.
The company plans to double both of those numbers in the next week.
Ready Responders just started operating in the state at the beginning of the month, and its CEO says it has plenty of capacity here.
Public housing residents will not have to pay for the service.
“Our policy is to provide care to people regardless of their insurance status,” said Dangel. "When we can get paid for it through insurance, we bill insurance and when we can’t, we provide the care."
On top of the testing, state officials will also supply 500,000 masks to public housing residents and thousands of gallons of hand sanitizer.
A spokesperson for City Hall said it was coordinating with the state on this effort.