New York State Senator Anthony Palumbo (R,C-New Suffolk), Assemblyman Fred Thiele (Sag Harbor) and Assemblywoman Jodi Giglio (R,C-Riverhead) today called on Governor Kathy Hochul to open state testing sites in eastern Suffolk County, particularly on the East End, to meet the rapidly growing demand for testing as the region deals with the latest surge of COVID-19.
“The State is putting testing sites throughout New York and in Nassau County, yet to date; no state testing sites have been announced in eastern Suffolk. The lack of testing sites for the area we represent is concerning with numbers continuing to increase and the region’s inability to keep up with testing demands. As we learned from previous surges, it is critically important to ensure that residents from Montauk and Orient to Brookhaven Town have access to testing a reasonable distance from their homes,” Senator Palumbo said in a joint statement released with Thiele and Giglio Tuesday. “For the health and safety of Suffolk County residents, I implore the governor to open rapid testing sites throughout eastern Suffolk County and especially on the East End where we are in urgent need of tests and facilities to administer them.”
Assemblyman Fred Thiele echoed Senator Palumbo’s concerns, pointing out that new COVID-19 cases in New York have risen exponentially following the appearance of the Omicron variant, which has spread across the nation — and now accounts for 73% of all cases in the United States. “Suffolk County has some of the highest rates of infection in the state,” Assemblyman Thiele said in the joint statement. “Testing remains one of the most important weapons in our arsenal to fight the virus. Residents from eastern Suffolk are entitled to the same access to testing as all New Yorkers,” he continued, explaining that Long Island’s unique geography requires special consideration. “Residents, especially seniors, cannot be expected to travel an hour or more to western Suffolk to access a state sponsored testing site. We have successfully made this point previously during the pandemic to ensure that vaccines and tests were available on the East End. Hopefully, that lesson has been learned and eastern Suffolk will be provided the testing accessibility they deserve.”
Assemblywoman Giglio also focused on the difficulty East Enders face when it comes to testing. “Imploring individuals to be tested while requiring them to travel over an hour to do so, does not serve to reduce COVID-19 diagnosis and transmission rates on Long Island. Our East End residents deserve the same testing availability as our neighbors to the west, for their safety, and for the safety of their families, neighbors, and co-workers,” Giglio said, closing the joint statement with a clear message for the governor. “I call upon Governor Hochul to address this shortfall immediately, and open state rapid testing sites in eastern Suffolk County. Together, we will face this problem, and together, we will solve it.”
The East End eagerly awaits Governor Hochul’s response.