SOMOS Opens Multilingual COVID Testing Site in Sunset Park

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SOMOS, a network of doctors across New York City whose main prerogative is to serve immigrant New Yorkers, opened their 4th multilingual COVID-19 antibody walk-in testing site in Sunset Park on Sunday in support of the largely Chinese and Latino immigrants that make up the neighborhood.

The opening comes as African-American and Latino communities continue to disproportionately bear the brunt of COVID-19 deaths and infections, while Asian communities have the lowest rates of the infection and death – even lower than whites, according to official city-data.

“Our communities are in a crisis. This antibody testing site is important to bring more safety and ease to our communities, and allow essential workers to return to the frontlines,” said SOMOS Chair and Founder Dr. Ramon Tallaj.

Some local elected have been expressing frustration at what they see as a long-held issue in US medical care, despite this being a step in the right direction. 

Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez
Borough President Eric Adams
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams

“This pandemic has crystalized long-existing disparities in our healthcare system and the broader economy. It is vital that we reach immigrant and minority communities with testing and healthcare services,” said U.S. Rep Nydia Valazquez (D- Brooklyn Heights, Boerum Hill, Bushwick, Carroll Gardens, Cobble Hill, Dumbo, East New York, East Williamsburg, Greenpoint, Gowanus, Red Hook, Sunset Park, Williamsburg, Queens, Lower Manhattan)

New polling data from Latino Decisions and SOMOS reveals that 66% of Latinos have difficulty finding necessities such as medicine, food, and household supplies. They also found data showing that Latinos, African Americans, and other communities of color in New York and nationwide are dying at twice the rate of their white and Asian counterparts. 

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, who has made prolific comments on acknowledging the diversity in the city, also believes the higher rates of deaths and infections were in large part due to non-accessible information. 

“Our city’s outreach strategy must reflect the diversity of this city. 47% of Brooklynites speak a language other than English at home. For too long, communities that do not rely on traditional media sources and those with a large non-English-speaking population have suffered from a dearth of accessible information about how to keep themselves and their families safe from the coronavirus,” he said. 

The testing site will offer services in the primary languages spoken by the incoming patients.   

City Councilman Carlos Menchaca

City Councilmember Carlos Menchaca (D-Sunset Park, Red Hook, Greenwood Heights, Borough Park, Dyker Heights, Windsor Terrace) took it a step further by broadening the scope of this issue into the future. 

“Critically, we need to ensure information on the next stage of this endemic must be communicated to our multilingual communities,” he stated.

This Sunset Park facility is open from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday by appointment only.  Appointments can be made by calling 1-833-SOMOSNY. SOMOS did not provide an address of the facility.