Earlier today, Governor Hochul delivered remarks at the opening of the Medical Care Unit at Astoria Houses.
VIDEO of the event is available on YouTube here and in TV quality (h.264, mp4) format here.
AUDIO of the event is available here.
PHOTOS of the event will be available on the Governor’s Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the Governor’s remarks is available below:
Thank you. Today, we begin to right the wrongs of the past. If anything, this pandemic demonstrated was that there are systemic disparities in healthcare access, and therefore healthcare outcomes. And no more do we see that more intensely than in this neighborhood, in this community. The number of people who contracted COVID, the number of people who succumbed, lost their lives, their friends, their neighbors.
This committee was so hard hit. But thank God this community had a champion. A woman who stood up and said “No more.” Carolyn Maloney has been talking about this for weeks, months, feels like years. But since I became governor in August, in one of her first calls, she was saying, “We’ve got to get something done. My community needs more access to testing and vaccination and ultimately the booster shots,” and she was dogged in her determination. She said, “There’s barriers with the City.” She got through those. “There’s barriers with the State Health Department,” she got through those. Working closely with NYCHA, she got through all the challenges because she is tenacious. And her leadership brought us here today.
I just had a chance to tour this. You think about shipping containers that have gone around the world, have seen everything. And now, this is their home. Three of them put together. It’s ingenious, to be able to bring this facility right here because you open those doors. It’s not just to a place, it’s a place of opportunity, and a healthier living. And so, we’re going to do tests here. We’re going to do vaccinations here. We’re going to get the job done. And I want to thank her for her leadership, particularly at a time when the COVID variant is back, my friends.
There is a new variant, two variants to Omicron. Not going to give you all the numbers. It’s like “BA 2 1.2” and “BA 2 1.21”, that doesn’t matter. It is very, very contagious. It is still with us. We do not have evidence that it’s more lethal, sending more people to hospitals, we don’t have that data, but it has spread even quicker than Omicron did. So as we approach the holidays, Passover, Easter, time to come together. Be smart; wear your mask if you think it’s necessary, if you’re around compromised family members, older family members. Let’s continue to protect each other.
And I do want to thank the other elected officials here, our Assemblymembers here. And I want to thank Mr. Tuchman for his generosity and bringing this to us. We hope this is just the beginning, because we believe that this is going to not just change people’s lives, but as the Congressman said, save people’s lives. Because that’s what we’re doing here today in Astoria. This community has needed it, it is overdue and I thank you for your incredible leadership.