ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — A number of groups in Rochester are teaming up to make access to at-home, rapid COVID-19 tests more accessible for all.
Untrapped Ministries, Mark’s Homecare and Rochester Family Mission, gave out 5,000 rapid testing kits on Wednesday, a total of 10,000 tests.
“The reason we are doing this is to bring equity into our community. Most people in underserved, impoverished communities, don’t have equal access to opportunities to get themselves tested and know their status,” said Justin Morris, the Founder of Untrapped Ministries. “What we want to do is we want to set up clinics throughout the city, or testing sites throughout the city, to ensure that people in underserved communities are getting equal access.”
According to data, roughly 33% of residents in Rochester live in poverty, which means access to COVID tests might not always be easy. At some locations, tests can cost close to $25.
“We know that you can order them online. But there’s a lot of people that don’t have internet, don’t have access to internet or even computers for that matter. So we’re looking out for those that really can’t afford to get the test,” said Warren Meeks Jr., the Executive Director for the Rochester Family Mission.
In addition to price, transportation can also be an issue and can keep some people from getting tested.
“We want to make sure that those who don’t have access to transportation, we’re right in the neighborhoods where they can actually get to us,” Meeks Jr. said. “And they can walk or, you know, whatever measures that they can take other than trying to provide Uber or bus or anything like that.”
Organizers say when we’re looking out for everyone, we can help make our community safer.
“People that live in these communities are people. They’re not numbers, they are not statistics, although we like to use them as numbers and statistics… they’re people,” Morris said. “We want our people, in these communities, to come in and know their status and to be able to do that confidently with the PCR exams as well as with the at-home testing kits.”
Meeks says their goal is to bring awareness to the testing opportunities in our community and to make the area safer for all.
“I think that the more people who have the opportunity to find out if they have it or not, that will allow this actual disease to potentially go away,” Meeks Jr. said. “People who find out that they have it, they should quarantine, of course, and you know, without that opportunity, and it’s just lingering and walking around, we’re having a lot more people infected on a daily basis and that’s what we’re trying to cut back on as we’re trying to find a way to get rid of this disease.”
If you’re looking for free, at-home rapid tests, you can pick up a box until 5 p.m. today at 388 Tremont Street. You can also get a free PCR test at the location on Wednesday and Thursday. Walk-ins are welcome.
Untrapped Ministries also said they are working on setting up a hotline for people to call to request at-home PCR tests.