A Boerum Hill woman has taken to Twitter to provide real-time updates on the line outside CityMD, giving locals looking to get tested for COVID-19 a sense of the wait times at the neighborhood’s urgent care facility.
“I live on the same block as the CityMD, so I walk by it countless times a day,” said Francine Ricchi. “Since I’m already walking by I thought it would be nice to tweet out how many people were waiting.”
Ricchi posts pictures of the queue outside the Atlantic Avenue healthcare outpost near Nevins Street to her account @CityMDLine several times each day since Nov. 11, when she noticed lines of people waiting for tests amid a recent spike in coronavirus cases.
“It was becoming significant,” she said. “All of a sudden, I saw everyone on the line.”
The Brooklynite was inspired by a similar account monitoring the line outside the Court Street Trader Joe’s in Cobble Hill, which was launched in the spring by bored Brooklyn Heights resident Jacob Shwirtz, who was easily able to keep track of the line for the grocery store from his apartment window across the street.
Ricchi, who knows Shwirtz personally, said he encouraged her to start the account when she floated the idea, and he has promoted it on his own line tracking account.
— Trader Joes Line Alert (@TraderJoesLine) November 12, 2020
CityMD — which recently began offering rapid testing for the virus — typically counts around 20 people on line, but the number can jump to more than twice that on busy days, according to Ricchi, who advised people looking to avoid the wait to arrive before opening.
“You have to get there at least a half hour before opening time,” she said.
While her effort focuses on the Atlantic Avenue outpost, Ricchi also retweets pictures of lines outside other CityMDs around the five boroughs that people send her way.
“If you send me what other locations look like I can post them,” she said.
She’s already gotten praise from locals and in area social media groups, and the Brooklynite said the initiative has allowed her to connect with neighbors and offer them a useful tool.
“I’ve been in this neighborhood since 2005, so it’s a good way to connect to other people who live around and just give them a resource,” she said.
CityMD did not immediately return a request for comment.