NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — State leaders want more people to get tested for COVID-19 ahead of the state reopening May 20, and they are pushing to bring more test sites to at-risk communities.
“I’m grateful that they are moving in that direction, but that should have been one of the first moves,” said Rev. Boise Kimber of New Haven.
Kimber says ‘access’ and ‘opportunity’ aren’t the first things that come to mind when it comes to COVID-19 testing in vulnerable communities in Connecticut.
“Now what they’re doing is saying ‘we have to test everybody. We gotta test as many people as we can,’ and so I’m hoping that people now can walk up to a site and give their name and their address and if they don’t have any insurance, then go ahead and perform the test and give them the results,” said Rev. Kimber.
Luckily, that effort is in the works already at the state level.
Governor Ned Lamont rolled out new plans on Thursday to make testing easily accessible to at-risk neighborhoods across the state.
“We’re rolling out at our community health centers so that the most vulnerable populations in our toughest neighborhoods can know, they can get tested safely, they can get tested at no cost, and no cost for treatment,” said Lamont.
State leaders say part of this new effort involves trusted community centers and local churches.
“Our goal is to really work through the organizations that are established and trusted in those communities. So it’s friendly faces for folks that know they can come out and receive testing, receive other care if they need it, so we’re not really looking to reinvent the wheel but more get resources out into the communities where they can be most effectively deployed,” said Josh Geballe, State of Connecticut Chief Operating Officer.