CLEVELAND — Nearly 2,000 people in under-resourced neighborhoods have been tested for coronavirus thanks to a partnership between MetroHealth, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and faith organizations.
Testing has been conducted at 18 churches since mid-July, with the majority of locations in predominantly African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods where residents said they had no access to other testing sites.
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“MetroHealth caregivers have been going out daily to test people in neighborhoods that might not otherwise receive testing,” said MetroHealth President and CEO Akram Boutros, MD. “It has been our privilege to work in this partnership to bring testing to these communities, and we will continue to do so.”
Partners in the project include Greater Cleveland Congregations, United Pastors in Mission, the Cleveland Clergy Alliance, the Hispanic Health and Spiritual Care Network. Testing is ongoing and is open to anyone in the community, not just congregation members.
As of August 8, 1,920 tests had been conducted. The largest share of positive tests came from people in their twenties, according to data from the first month of testing. People over the age of 60 accounted for nearly half of those tested, and account for 14 percent of the positives.
“We see health disparities in our community as a social justice issue,” said Rev. Christine A. Smith, senior pastor at Restoration Ministries of Greater Cleveland, Inc. “We’re very grateful for the opportunity to collaborate with MetroHealth and the Cuyahoga County Board of Health.”
Additional testing is scheduled, with testing this week at the following locations:
- Calvary Church of God in Christ, 11535 Shaker Boulevard, Wednesday
- South Euclid UCC, 4217 Bluestone Road, Thursday
- Sanctuary Baptist Church, 4004 E. 131st Street, Friday
- Assembly Baptist Church, 4015 E. 141st Street, Monday, August 31
For more information, visit metrohealth.org.