If it feels like everyone you know in Greenpoint has recently tested positive for Covid, this would not be a total exaggeration. According to the NYC Health website, Greenpoint is labeled as a neighborhood with High Transmission for the highly contagious virus. In fact, a chart on the NYC Health website shows Greenpoint as the neighborhood with the 5th highest number of cases per residents in the five boroughs, with Williamsburg not far behind as the 9th highest.
NYC Health reports that there have been 1200.37 new cases recorded per 100,000 people in the last seven days in Greenpoint, and that 1 out of every 6 people in Greenpoint was diagnosed with Covid.
Cases have skyrocketed in a matter of days. Another chart via NYC Health shows the exponential increase of cases from the past week in Greenpoint. The chart depicts a vertical line.
Local elected officials have taken to social media outlets to beg constituents to practice safe protocols. Emily Gallagher wrote on Twitter, “Williamsburg and Greenpoint have the highest rate of Covid transmission in Brooklyn [right now].”
As the surge spirals out of control, lines at local testing sites span several blocks and several hours. The Lab Q van on India St. and Manhattan Ave. is the perfect example of a testing site that rarely had a line for the past year, however, for the past few days, the line continues to grow and snake down India St, when it shows up (the van was absent Sunday, despite a crowd waiting for hours that morning).
City MD (795 Manhattan Ave.) has seen lines comparable to Thanksgiving 2020 when residents reported waiting 8 hours in line to get tested.
Many pharmacies in the area have started making appointments mandatory for testing, however, these appointments are almost impossible to find as travelers rush to get tested before going home for the Christmas holiday.
Altru Chemists (987 Manhattan Ave.) told Greenpointers that appointments are necessary to get tested there and must be made via the pharmacy’s website. Although appointments are currently booked for the next few days, the pharmacy will be adding new appointments to the schedule every morning at 10 a.m.
Altru Chemists went on to explain that PCR tests are free, but results may be delayed. The pharmacy is telling customers that PCR results will be emailed in 48-72 hours, compared to the previously mentioned 24 hours.
Macy, the Operations Manager at Altru, said, “It is going to be like this until the new year. We are testing 400 people a day compared to 100 a day!” He is asking customers to email the pharmacy with questions instead of calling because the phone lines are backed up.
Altru Chemists is also offering all three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson and Johnson), plus child-sized doses. Boosters will be administered by appointment only until January 6th, but those looking to receive a first dose can walk in.
The surge in Covid cases alongside the long waits for testing has forced neighborhood bars and restaurants to shutter. Some closures are due to staff exposure while others are taking preempt measures to test staff.
Some restaurants have closed only for a day or two to get staff tested while others decided to close for much longer periods to essentially wait out this current surge. Bakeri (105 Freeman St.) wrote, “we are sad to announce that we’ve decided to close both locations for the foreseeable future due to the recent Covid spike.” Night of Joy (667 Lorimer St.) posted that they will be closed “for the holiday week.” Other restaurants have decided to switch to takeout or delivery only like Cafe Mogador (133 Wythe Ave.).
Because the number of restaurant closures is so high, many places have posted on social media that they are open. Eden’s (120 Franklin St.) told customers that their staff tested negative and they are offering takeout and delivery. Naked Dog (47 Java St.) posted that they are open, but not seating at the bar and asking customers to wear masks when not seated.
Archestratus (160 Huron St.) is currently open with extended holiday hours. Archestratus told Greenpointers that they were able to remain open over the weekend with normal patronage, however many people tried to eat outside. Maman (80 Kent St.) was also open throughout the weekend and said that they have managed to stay open throughout the pandemic. In the worst case scenario, they would consider a takeout window, but still try to serve the neighborhood.