It’s time at a public hospital in Staten Island (notice)
At the very onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring of 2020, New York City became the nation’s epicenter. About a year later, New York City continues to have some of the highest rates in the country. The biggest hot spots for COVID-19 in New York City include communities in the southern Bronx, northern and southeastern Queens, and a particularly significant part of Staten Island.
With nearly 10,000 positive COVID-19 cases per 100,000 population, Staten Island currently has the highest per capita infection rate of the five boroughs. While Staten Island is the least populated borough, accounting for just 5% of the city’s population, as of December 2020, Staten Island managed to account for 25% of deaths from COVID-19. Many attribute these alarming rates to the prevalence of anti-mask groups on Staten Island, with the November and December rate hike largely due to the former administration’s campaign rallies.
However, the bad trends for Staten Island only continue two months after the start of the new year, leaving many wondering what could also be contributing to the way Staten Island is ravaged by COVID-19, especially the predominantly neighborhoods. black and latino located in the north. Bank.
While political culture is certainly a determining factor in these rates, there may be other factors to consider as well. Staten Island is the only borough in New York without a public hospital. There are only two hospitals on Staten Island, both private. This leaves many residents at a disadvantage, as public hospitals offer more financially equitable options for people with limited incomes and undocumented migrants. Residents of Staten Island are also geographically disadvantaged due to longer average travel times to hospitals.
The lack of public hospitals is also preventing Staten Island from being included in many COVID-19 plans to also increase hospital capacity, putting residents at an even greater disadvantage. In early April, when the city first announced its decision to increase medical staff, as well as intensive care unit beds, Staten Island was not included because the plan only applied to hospitals. public. Staten Island was once again left out when the city first sent military medics to city hospitals. Health care workers at Staten Island hospitals were also excluded from an $ 8.2 million fundraising effort from the city’s hospitals because only public hospitals were included.
Some believe the city is finally starting to recognize the needs of neighborhoods most impacted by COVID-19 when it announced the opening of two new mass vaccination sites on Staten Island, especially since the first vaccination site mass will open on the North Shore, where the predominantly black and Latino communities are found. However, many residents are concerned about why it took a global pandemic for New York City to realize just how poor our health care system really is, especially in some boroughs.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not where concerns should end for the needs of Staten Island residents. The office of the president of the borough has identified high levels of heart disease, chronic respiratory disease, obesity and diabetes as significant problems as well. It is clear that more efforts must be made to bridge the disparities in access to health care which have significant effects on the residents of the borough.
Some suggestions for reducing barriers to healthcare on Staten Island involve establishing a city-run hospital on the north shore of Staten Island where residents most affected by health and income inequalities reside, creating a ” an initiative to further increase preventive health care practices in all health establishments in the borough and the establishment of community health education that targets neighborhoods with the worst health outcomes in order to positively influence health choices.
Even though it is due to such unfortunate circumstances, this pandemic may be the wake-up call New York City needs to redouble its efforts to build a more equitable public infrastructure that will better serve its most neglected communities. , and, in turn, all the inhabitants of the city.
It’s time to build! After all is said and done, the bugle is that it is time for the development of a public hospital in the Borough of Staten Island.
(Folashad Fakoya, testing and tracing coordinator for the National Black Leadership Commission on Health, lives in Eltingville.)