LEVITTOWN, NY — Town of Hempstead officials unanimously voted Tuesday to award Northwell Health $2 million in federal funding to implement a coronavirus education and testing initiative.
The program will launch 15 COVID-19 testing sites throughout the Town of Hempstead, Newsday reported. Northwell Health will use the funding, allocated through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, to launch testing sites in the areas of town that have seen the most infections, including Hempstead, Uniondale, Freeport and Five Towns.
“The increased availability of COVID-19 testing is crucial in our battle to overcome the global pandemic,” Hempstead Town Supervisor Don Clavin wrote in a Facebook post. “It is crucial for the collective health of America’s largest township that testing is readily available to those who seek it, and this collaboration between the town and Northwell Health is a great step in the right direction.”
The program is designed to add more antibody testing locations and to provide communities with information about the coronavirus in order to mitigate further spread of the virus, officials said. The partnership with Northwell Health also intends to target areas that have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic, including communities of color and public housing projects, by addressing disparities in access to information and testing.
“This pandemic has not hit every community evenhandedly,” Clavin said at Tuesday’s meeting. “Some communities were hit more severely than others. We’re going to the hardest hit areas. Northwell will team with civic groups in multiple languages and we are going to save lives.”
Northwell hopes to open the testing sites in the next three weeks, Newsday reported. Planned sites include five in Hempstead Village and three in Uniondale, in addition to locations in Freeport, Lawrence, Elmont, Island Park, Oceanside, Baldwin and Levittown.
The funding for the program is part of the $131 million CARES Act grant for which the Town of Hempstead qualified. The town previously sent $4 million to local hospitals and another $4 million to food banks, according to Newsday.
This article originally appeared on the Levittown Patch