New York churches transformed into COVID-19 testing sites to serve Black, Latinx communities

By | May 17, 2020

Medical workers in personal protective equipment (PPE) test for COViD-19 at Abyssinian Baptist Church, one of 11 churches across the city as well as Nassau County and Westchester that has begun testing for the virus on May 13, 2020 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

The New York State Department of Health is partnering with the state’s largest health care network, Northwell Health, to provide dozens of COVID-19 testing sites for communities of color.

As reported by WABC, 11 churches in New York City were converted into temporary testing sites and began offering testing services earlier this week. Another 13 churches are expected to be added to the list of providers next week.

The testing sites are located in the Manhattan neighborhood of Harlem, the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens boroughs, as well as Nassau and Westchester counties. More than 530 residents in Brooklyn’s East New York neighborhood gathered at Bethany Baptist Church for testing in a matter of two days, HuffPost reported. At least 400 signed up for antibody testing, according to Rev. Adolphus C. Lacey.

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“We’re demonstrating a need,” Rev. Lacey stated.

At least 20 members of Bethany Baptist have tested positive for COVID-19 since the pandemic started. Six have died of the respiratory disease.


Posted by Bethany Baptist Church on Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Lacey recognizes how much the virus has affected Black and Latinx communities.

“Coronavirus is a snitch, and it reveals inadequacies, ineptness and disparities. But it also shines a light on greatness and brilliance,” Lacey said. “And that’s what we want to be able to say ― that at this time, we were able to be a beacon of hope and rise to the occasion for our community.”

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One of the almost dozen churches is Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, run by Rev. Dr. Calvin Butts. Over 300 tests will be available until May 17.

“We’re hoping that this encourages other people in our community,” Dr. Butts told WABC. “The Black and Brown community is the epicenter of the epicenter.”

Health – TheGrio