Sean Penn teams up with NY state to open 11 testing sites in

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- New York state has teamed up with actor Sean Penn’s relief organization to open and expand 11 COVID-19 testing sites in and around New York City “hotspots," Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday. 

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New York state currently has more than 800 testing sites, but there is still “a problem in New York City in certain ZIP codes," Cuomo said during his daily briefing Tuesday.

“The virus did not attack equally. It hit lower-income areas, more minority areas harder,” he said. “And in New York City, that’s probably most demonstrable.” 

CORE, the relief organization Penn cofounded, has been partnering with organizations and local governments across the country to ramp up COVID-19 testing. New York is working with the organization to open and expand 10 sites in New York City and one in Yonkers, Cuomo's office said.

“I talked to Mr. Penn about this problem in our hotspot ZIP codes and asked if they could help get more testing into those areas, because we don’t have a lot of infrastructure there, and his group came in, they mobilized and they did great work opening up testing sites in a very short period of time that will ramp up the testing in our hot-spot clusters,” Cuomo said during his briefing. “That combination of good intent and good results, that doesn’t happen often. But when it does it’s special. And it happened with Mr. Penn and CORE and I want to thank him.”

Penn made a short, virtual appearance during the briefing, saying he was “very excited about the partnership.” Cuomo's office provided 1010 WINS with a list of the 11 testing sites and their opening dates:

Currently open:

  • Brownsville Multi-Service Family Health Center (592 Rockaway Ave. in Brooklyn)
  • Morris Heights Health Center (1227 Edward L. Grant Highway in the Bronx)
  • Brookdale Family Care Center (1095 Flatbush Ave. in Brooklyn) 
  • Shining Light Family Health (1030 Sheridan Ave. in the Bronx) 
  • St Peter’s and St. Denis Church (91 Ludlow St. in Yonkers)

Opening June 17:

  • Heavenly Vision (2868 Jerome Ave. in the Bronx)
  • Morning Star Full Gospel Church (464 E. Tremont Ave in the Bronx)
  • FLOW Ministries (901 East Tremont Ave. in the Bronx)
  • Queens Baptist Church (93-23 217th St. in Queens)
  • Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church (138 Montrose Ave. in Brooklyn) 
  • Burke Avenue Baptist Church (1280 Burke Ave. in the Bronx) 

Testing will continue to be integral as more and more industries across the state reopen, Cuomo said. Westchester County, Rockland County and the Hudson Valley entered Phase II of reopening on Tuesday; Long Island will enter Phase II on Wednesday. 

The state plans to launch a new COVID-19 dashboard that will allow state residents to see the daily percentage of positive COVID-19 tests in their county more easily, Cuomo said. It wasn't immediately clear when the new dashboard would launch.

Cuomo on Tuesday also discussed the new protocols Metro-North Railroad put in place in tandem with New York City’s Phase I reopening on Monday. The agency is taking “unprecedented steps to be ready and to be safe” as it welcomes back more riders, he said. 

The state will send 500,000 cloth masks to the MTA for Metro-North, as well as 10,000 gallons and 100,000 two-ounce bottles of sanitizer, he said. 

“When you get on, people will give you a mask and hand sanitizer if you don’t have it,” he said. “But the masks are mandatory, for your sake and for everyone else.”

Riders should observe the railroad’s social-distancing decals and try to stay six feet apart, he added. 

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