People lined up to be tested at a one-day free COVID-19 drive-through testing site set up at a popular Philadelphia church.
The site will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Monday at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church on 2800 W. Cheltenham Avenue.
By 9 a.m., drivers had lined up to get tested at the event organized by the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium, a group of health care professionals who built a mobile unit to provide free testing to Philadelphia’s most vulnerable neighborhoods.
People who have experienced coronavirus-related symptoms (ie. coughing, sneezing, sore throat, shortness of breath, fever, loss of smell, lost of taste, diarrhea, weakness) or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive within the past 14 days were encouraged to go.
The line of people was cut off at 350, well before 4 p.m., because that was how many tests were available.
The Consortium is raising money for van transportation, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), educational materials and testing supplies. CLICK HERE if you’d like to donate.
Enon is located in a predominantly black neighborhood where 35% of residents tested positive for COVID-19. Alyn Waller, pastor of Enon, told NBC10 working with the Consortium was a way for the church to serve the community.
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"That's what we exist to do," Pastor Waller said. "Any good preacher has a Bible in one hand and a newspaper in the other."
Pastor Waller told NBC10 it was also important to spread accurate information about the coronavirus pandemic.
"One of the things that happened first was a lot of misinformation," Pastor Waller said. "Quite frankly, we have to get a lot of people of good will and celebrity to get this message out."
On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released its first breakdown of COVID-19 case data by race, showing that 30% of patients whose race was known were black. The federal data was missing racial information for 75% of all cases, however, and did not include any demographic breakdown of deaths.
The latest Associated Press analysis of available state and local data shows that nearly one-third of those who have died are African American, with black people representing about 14% of the population in the areas covered in the analysis.
Health conditions that exist at higher rates in the black community -- obesity, diabetes and asthma -- make African Americans more susceptible to the virus. They also are more likely to be uninsured and some members of the black community have reported that medical professionals take their ailments less seriously when they seek treatment.