FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM APRIL 2, 2020 • HEALTH • THE QUEENS COURIER 31
With live racing suspended, Aqueduct Racetrack’s
parking lot hosts coronavirus testing site
BY BILL PARRY
With horse racing suspended at
Aqueduct Racetrack in Jamaica, its parking
lot is serving as a SOMOS NY Health
Testing Center site for the COVID-19
Testing is currently accessible to patients
who have been referred by a medical professional
and have a prescription to be
tested for COVID-19.
“Many of my constituents are relieved
to learn that a coronavirus testing site has
opened at the Aqueduct Racetrack parking
lot,” state Senator Joseph Addabbo
said. “It is in times of emergency that we
come together to help others, and this is
why I appreciate the provider SOMOS,
the city and the Port Authority for working
towards making this site available. We
must increase the number of testing sites
if we are to identify those in need of medical
attention and to credibly reduce the
spread of this fatal virus.”
For more information and for questions
regarding coronavirus call
Meanwhile, Th e New York Racing
Association suspended live horse racing
until further notice aft er a backstretch
worker who lives and works at Belmont
Park tested positive for the virus last week.
“Th is individual and his roommate have
been in isolation prior to racing last Friday
and as such did not travel to Aqueduct for
live racing,” NYRA President and CEO
Dave O’Rourke said. “We are working
with the county and state departments of
health to ensure proper quarantine and
sterilization practices will continue to be
followed moving forward. We are focused
on ensuring the health and safety of our
entire backstretch community, as well as
the horses in their care.”
A decision regarding the resumption of
live racing and the upcoming Aqueduct
stakes schedule, including the Grade 2,
$750,000 Wood Memorial presented by
Resorts World Casino on April 4, will be
made at a later date.
“At this point in the COVID-19 crisis,
we all need to be 100 percent focused
on the health of our staff and the welfare
of our horses,” New York Th oroughbred
Horsemen’s Association President Joe
Applebaum said. “When the industry
Photo via Wikimedia Commons
comes out the other side of this, and we
will, having as many healthy horses and
humans as possible will be paramount.”
Th e Belmont Park backstretch and its
facilities remain open to horsemen and
operational for training. Owners will not
be permitted access to the backstretch
until further notice. Stabling and training
at Aqueduct were closed permanently
as of Jan. 1.
Interest in telemedicine in New York
grows during coronavirus outbreak
BY ALEJANDRA O’CONNELLDOMENECH
Photo via Getty Images
In the age of coronavirus-induced isolation,
telemedicine is seeing an unprecedented
surge in interest as public offi -
cials urge people to stay out of emergency
rooms and prevent an avoidable strain
on hospital staff and resources.
President Donald Trump touted telemedicine
and his administration even
loosened restrictions on reimbursements
for telehealth services through Medicare
along with easing rules on patient privacy
that have plagued the industry.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, the
telehealth service industry was steadily
growing. According to Fair Health Inc.,
the industry saw a 50 percent growth
from 2016 to 2017. Th e industry is still
small, though; last year only one out of 10
people used a telehealth service, according
to a July J.D. Power survey.
One telemedicine company, Plushcare,
reports that revenue is up by 70 percent
now from the same time last year.
Asthma-related respiratory visits via
the platform have jumped by 124
percent over the last few
weeks and other
are up by 62 percent.
Other telemedicine apps like
Amwell, GoodRx and HeyDoctor have
also seen a spike in appointments. Since
the novel coronavirus landed in the
United States, Amwell has seen a 158
percent increase in app usage nationwide
and by 650 percent in Washington state,
according to Quartz.
Some of the benefi ts of telemedicine
apps are their accessibility, given that one
has internet, and cost. First-time doctor
visits using Plushcare cost around $99,
and $69 for an Amwell appointment. Th e
process also allows for patients to avoid
unnecessary steps like taking a urine test
before being prescribed an antibiotic.
But telemedicine is not perfect.
According to Plushcare provider Dr.
Berliner, some patients fi nd it diffi cult to
navigate the platform on iPhones, iPads
or computer screens and have trouble
taking photographs to help physicians
diagnose things like strep throat. Th ere
are limits to what a doctor can diagnose
via a screen.
Physicians are also unable to prescribe
certain kinds of controlled medications
via telehealth devices.
Although a great addition to the medical
fi eld, nothing can replace an in-offi
ce visit with a physician, Berliner added.
Horse racing is suspended at Aqueduct Racetrack and coronavirus testing is underway at its parking lot.