WARSAW — The Northern Indiana Hispanic Health Coalition, Heart City Health, the City of Warsaw and Our Lady of Guadalupe Church joined forces to provide critically needed COVID-19 testing to the community on Saturday, Aug. 29.
NIHHC’s outreach brought a continuous stream of cars to Heart City Health’s mobile testing unit, stationed in Our Lady of Guadalupe Church’s parking lot. NIHHC also took the opportunity to provide free health screenings to interested patients.
Heart City Health staff tested over 70 patients, including children. Tests were offered for free to uninsured patients, with no appointment or doctor’s referral needed. Any photo ID was accepted, and anyone showing symptoms or who had been exposed to someone diagnosed with COVID-19 was tested.
“Making COVID-19 testing accessible and open to everyone in a culturally sensitive manner is key to addressing the pandemic,” said Liliana Quintero, NIHHC’s executive director. “We are seeing COVID-19 cases in Kosciusko County continue to rise at an alarming rate, especially among young people. In addition, it is disproportionately growing among the Hispanic community.”
Over 50 percent of patients tested on Saturday were Hispanic and 30 percent were under 18. As children return to school and risk greater exposure, it is critical that they have access to testing. The positivity rate on Saturday was over 5 percent and county-wide it is over 13 percent.
Members of the Hispanic community are more likely to be essential workers who cannot work from home. They face disparities in job security, disease rates, exposure, testing and prevention.
With events like the free public COVID-19 testing day, NIHHC is able to connect with community members and provide further education and guidance to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Facing the rapid spread of the virus in a fast-growing group that is vital to our economic future, we recognize that our collective health as a county depends on the health of all of us,” stated Quintero. “We have a responsibility to take action now to improve the health outcomes of all. Our partnership with Heart City Health and the City of Warsaw for this COVID-19 testing day is a prime example of that effort.”
NIHHC is grateful to Heart City Health staff, NIHHC interpreters, Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, Warsaw Mayor Joseph Thallemer and the City of Warsaw, whose support and service made this event possible and ensured it ran smoothly. Staff and volunteers were on their feet all day in a high-risk situation to serve patients. Their dedication enables the NIHHC to meet the needs of the community.
Anyone seeking more information on COVID-19 testing can call NIHHC’s bilingual (English/Spanish) COVID-19 hotline at (574) 206-3938. Visit NIHHC’s Facebook page for up-to-date information on testing sites and resources for financial support. And don’t miss NIHHC’s Pills of Knowledge video segments with healthcare professionals, broadcasted from 6-7 p.m. every Tuesday on Facebook Live.