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NYC Test & Treat Corps Awards Distinguished Service Certificates to Six Pharmacies that Provided Prescriptions During Launch of Mobile "Test to Treat" Program

The mobile Test to Treat program has tested 36,000 New Yorkers, nearly 1,200 of whom were immediately connected to treatment

Aug 24, 2022

The NYC Test & Treat Corps and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom today awarded Distinguished Service Certificates to six pharmacy partners who helped fill prescriptions during the launch of the nation’s first mobile Test to Treat program. The mobile Test to Treat program, which recently expanded to over 30 mobile units that all provide Paxlovid onsite, has tested 36,000 New Yorkers, nearly 1,200 of whom were immediately connected to Paxlovid.

“Throughout the pandemic, whether we were pushing out new testing options, vaccines, and now medications, we have relied on strong community partnership,” said Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom. “Today, we recognize some of those partners in the pharmacy space. Thank you for serving your communities as a trusted outlet and for working with the city to deploy needed medications when it is most impactful. Thank you also to Dr. Ted Long and the whole Test & Treat team for all they are doing to keep New Yorkers healthy.” 

“Our mobile Test to Treat program’s unique ability to prescribe and provide Paxlovid onsite instantly connects New Yorkers —especially those in our most impacted communities —  to life-saving medicine,” said Dr. Ted Long, Executive Director of the NYC Test & Treat Corps and Senior Vice President, Ambulatory Care and Population Health, NYC Health + Hospitals. “We would not have been able to bring Paxlovid to over a thousand New Yorkers as quickly as we did without these trusted pharmacy partners, who generously stepped up to support the health of their communities. Community partnerships like this are the backbone of our testing program, and we will continue to work with our partners to make sure testing and treatment are reaching all New Yorkers equitably and without exception.”

The NYC Test & Treat Corps and Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Anne Williams-Isom awarded Distinguished Service Certificates to the following pharmacies on the steps of New York City Hall:

1. Inwood Pharmacy and owner/pharmacist Badrinath “Badri” Kumar
2. Burke Avenue Pharmacy and owner/pharmacist Emerentia “Emmy” Ekokobe
3. Grace Pharmacy and owner Altagracia “Grace” Brutus
4. Marble Hill Pharmacy and owner Vijay Paghdal
5. Rex Pharmacy and owner Farhan Rashid
6. Clove Pharmacy and owner Lisa Geoly

“I would like to express my thanks to NYC Test and Treat Corps for providing an opportunity to participate in the first ever mobile Test to Treat program in the country,” said Inwood Pharmacy owner and pharmacist Badrinath “Badri” Kumar. “I commend your efforts to reduce the COVID-19 infection rate in our neighborhood with your continuous presence in the area. It’s a proud moment to receive an appreciation from the Deputy Mayor and the NYC Test & Treat Corps today at City Hall.”

“We want to thank you from Grace Pharmacy for giving us the opportunity to participate in the pilot program to dispense the Paxlovid medication,” said Grace Pharmacy owner Altagracia “Grace” Brutus. “In our community, a lot people do not have access to healthcare whether it is to see a doctor or get prescriptions from a local pharmacy. Through this program they were able to get tested for COVID-19 and if positive they would get Paxlovid instantly whether they are insured or not. We are glad that the program chose small community pharmacy like ours where we have more of a personal relation with the customers and the whole community.”

New Yorkers who test positive for COVID-19 at one of the over 30 mobile Test to Treat units will be offered the opportunity to engage with an onsite clinician and, if eligible, walk away with free Paxlovid anti-viral medication provided onboard the mobile unit. The mobile Test to Treat fleet includes six units operated by the Street Health Outreach + Wellness (SHOW) program, a mobile health initiative focused on treating New Yorkers experiencing homelessness and those historically disconnected from care.

New Yorkers who test positive at a mobile Test to Treat location can, if eligible, receive Paxlovid minutes after their positive test.

Since the mobile Test to Treat program’s launch on June 30, mobile Test to Treat staff have tested more than 36,000 New Yorkers for COVID-19. Of those New Yorkers tested, 5,700 tested positive, 1,600 were found eligible for Paxlovid and nearly 1,200 were immediately prescribed and received Paxlovid — approximately 75% of eligible patients. In addition, to ensure deployments are reaching New Yorkers most in need, 75% of mobile Test to Treat locations have been established in neighborhoods the City’s Task Force on Racial Inclusion and Equity (TRIE) determined were hardest hit by the pandemic.

Mobile Test to Treat units are currently deployed at the locations listed here. New Yorkers can visit nyc.gov/covidtest to find the city-run testing site nearest and most suitable to them, including by filtering testing sites by Test to Treat, mobile testing or at-home test distribution locations.

In addition to the mobile Test to Treat program, the city’s unique 24/7 COVID-19 Hotline, 212-COVID-19, provides New Yorkers who test positive — including those using an at-home test — an immediate connection to a clinician who can prescribe treatments. After a short assessment, these clinicians can refer patients to monoclonal antibody treatment or prescribe antiviral medications, like Paxlovid, and arrange to have it delivered to their home that same day.

The city’s COVID-19 Hotline, which utilizes NYC Health + Hospitals’ Virtual ExpressCare platform to connect patients to clinicians, has connected over 18,000 New Yorkers to Paxlovid, providing approximately 12% of all Paxlovid prescriptions issued across New York City.

There are currently nearly 400 sites to access testing across New York City, including mobile units offering rapid and PCR testing, hospital PCR testing sites and at-home test distribution sites. The NYC Test & Treat Corps will continue to work hand in hand with community partners to ensure testing deployments reach New Yorkers in neighborhoods most impacted by COVID-19 and to coordinate closely with DOHMH to make data-informed decisions.

Multiple COVID-19 treatments are available for people ages 12 and older and can be delivered to New Yorkers’ homes for free. For more information on COVID-19 treatments, please call 212-COVID19 and press 9 or visit nyc.gov/health/covidtreatments.

Contact: 212-788-3339; PressOffice@nychhc.org

About the NYC Test & Treat Corps

The NYC Test & Treat Corps is the city’s comprehensive effort to respond to COVID-19 by providing New Yorkers accessible, no-cost testing, rapid connections to COVID-19 treatments and resources to support those recovering from Long COVID. Through a partnership with NYC Health + Hospitals and the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the NYC Test & Treat Corps provides New Yorkers equitable, widespread access to the critical tools for COVID-19 testing and treatment.

About NYC Health + Hospitals
NYC Health + Hospitals is the largest public health care system in the nation serving more than a million New Yorkers annually in more than 70 patient care locations across the city’s five boroughs. A robust network of outpatient, neighborhood-based primary and specialty care centers anchors care coordination with the system’s trauma centers, nursing homes, post-acute care centers, home care agency, and MetroPlus health plan—all supported by 11 essential hospitals. Its diverse workforce of more than 43,000 employees is uniquely focused on empowering New Yorkers, without exception, to live the healthiest life possible. For more information, visit www.nychealthandhospitals.org and stay connected on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NYCHealthSystem or Twitter at @NYCHealthSystem