City officials on Friday cut the ceremonial ribbon on the city’s third of three COVID-19 Centers of Excellence — providing comprehensive health clinics focused primarily on providing care to those recovering from the virus, and on serving communities of color hardest hit by the pandemic.
The newest facility, located at 815 Broadway in Bushwick, will open to patients beginning Feb. 14, and will provide comprehensive ambulatory services to the surrounding area.
“The opening of this third COVID-19 Center of Excellence is amazing news for New York City’s comeback,” said Mayor Eric Adams in a statement. “It was in these neighborhoods that this pandemic hit New Yorkers the hardest and I’m proud that as we recover, the neighborhoods hit the hardest will have access to world-class health care and support.”
The center, operated by NYC Health + Hospitals, is designed to meet the unique needs of patients recovering from COVID-19, according to Adams’ office, including specialized services like pulmonary and cardiology care, supplemental oxygen, radiology and diagnostic services, and mental health services.
The community health clinic will also provide Brooklyn residents with access to primary, pediatric, vision and dental care, as well as diabetes management, and cancer screenings, among other services.
“Our third COVID-19 Center of Excellence is another example of NYC Health + Hospitals fulfilling its commitment to beating back this pandemic and supporting New Yorkers’ health, especially in our hardest hit communities,” said Dr. Ted Long, senior vice president for ambulatory care at NYC Health + Hospitals and executive director of the NYC Test & Trace Corps. “We have been with New Yorkers every step of this pandemic, from wide-spread community testing, intensive care, quarantine support, and even vaccinating them in the comfort of their home. This new site is the future, dedicated to the long-term impacts of this virus, to help all of us recover from the pandemic.”
The Bushwick opening comes on the heels of the premiere of the city’s second COVID-19 Center of Excellence earlier this month in Jackson Heights, Queens. The first facility opened in the Tremont section of the Bronx in November 2020.
All three neighborhoods were hit hard by the pandemic. The new Brooklyn center’s Zip Code, 11206, is still seeing a high COVID-19 transmission rate, according to city data, despite declining cases of the Omicron variant of the virus across the state. The neighboring Zip Code, 11237, is seeing an even higher rate of transmission, according to the latest data available from the city’s Department of Health, with almost a 4 percent COVID-19 positivity rate between Feb. 1 and Feb. 7.
Additionally, one in every three Bushwick residents has been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the data.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has truly exacerbated health disparities in communities of color and highlighted the need to invest in both our hospital infrastructure and community-based health centers,” said area Councilmember Mercedes Narcisse, a registered nurse who also chairs the Council’s Committee on Hospitals. “Having the new COVID-19 Center of Excellence in communities hardest hit by the pandemic will allow for a supportive and effective setting for patients and their families who are dealing with long term COVID and a myriad of health issues.”
Bushwick Assemblymember Martiza Davila said that, “although the pandemic has subsided,” there is more work yet to be done.
“As we continue to monitor and deal with this issue, ensuring these clinics are in our backyard is the first step to the betterment of health and safety for all,” she said.
While patients can be referred to the Brooklyn COVID-19 Center of Excellence after a hospital visit or through their primary care provider, patients who test positive for COVID-19 are not required to visit the site.