Virginia Department of Health holds free COVID-19 testing in Southwood Community

Virginia Department of Health does free COVID-19 testing in Southwood Community

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - Ask health experts. Ask Governor Northam. It is key to controlling the spread of the coronavirus.

Tuesday, some in Albemarle County took advantage of testing coming directly to their community.

For many in under served communities, it can be difficult to get to a testing site because of a lack of transportation, time or opportunity. Tuesday evening, the Virginia Department of Health brought free testing directly to the Southwood community, with a focus on Latinos there.

“It’s these kind of outreach efforts to do testing that will really hopefully get things under control,” said Chris Ghaemmagahami, an emergency physician at University of Virginia and a volunteer at the event.

COVID-19 disproportionately affects communities of color and other under served segments of the population.

Doctor Max Luna, the Director of the Latino Health Initiative and a professor of medicine at UVA, says while Latinos represent around 10% of Virginia’s population, they make up 45% of COVID-19 cases in the Commonwealth.

“Not because of a particular biological or cultural situation, but because of the socioeconomic struggles that they have along with other minority groups that leads them to be exposed more to the virus,” said Luna.

Many Latinos work on the front lines providing necessary services to society.

“I think we need to protect all our neighbors and anything we can do to protect the folks in the neighborhood and their children is important” said Ghaemmagahami.

“What we want from this event as well is for non-Latino communities to see this community as our neighbors. We meet our Latino people at the grocery stores, gas stations and they are struggling as all of us are. We are all here together struggling with the coronavirus pandemic,” said Luna.

Tuesday’s event was the third Latino focused community testing event, with the goal to serve communities that have limited access to healthcare.

Copyright 2020 WVIR. All rights reserved.