Local agencies test vulnerable groups for COVID-19

As COVID-19 has now spread to 637 Jackson County residents and disrupted the daily lives of many more, testing for the virus remains key. 

Guadalupe Centers Family Support Center is hosting a free COVID-19 testing clinic on Friday, June 12 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Guadalupe Centers Villa Campus, 5123 E. Truman Rd.

The clinic will serve as a research study being done through a partnership of Dr. Kevin Sykes at KU Medical Center and Heart to Heart International.

“Essential workers who are working during the outbreak of the new coronavirus disease (COVID-19) often do not have access to tests for the virus, especially if they do not have symptoms of the disease,” according to the study.

The partnering organizations want to provide free tests to these workers, who may be moving around the community without knowing if they are infected with the virus.

Each participant will fill out a survey about medical history, symptoms, potential exposure to COVID-19, and living and working environments.

The questions in the survey will help researchers understand more about how concerned essential workers are about contracting the virus, and how and where they are moving throughout the community for work or other reasons.

The goal is, in part, intended to provide employers, community leaders and policymakers with better evidence as they make decisions about reopening businesses and activities. It will also help inform essential workers on how to protect themselves and their loved ones.

Essential workers are one of many groups vulnerable to COVID-19.

On Tuesday, June 2, Swope Health administered on-site tests to all City Union Mission long-term program residents at no cost. All 94 residents tested negative for COVID-19.

“We are greatly relieved to know that none of those men and women in our long-term programs have the virus,” said City Union Mission CEO Terry Megli. “This doesn’t mean that we are in any way letting our guard down or easing our practices in place to prevent the spread of the virus. It is reassuring to know that our efforts have been worthwhile and appear to be working.”

The mission has been following recommendations from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) to prevent spread of the virus, which includes daily cleaning protocols.

Residents and staff have been thoroughly washing their hands, avoiding touching their eyes and faces, practicing social distancing, wearing face coverings and sanitizing frequently touched areas.

In addition to adjusting services and outreach ministries, the mission has also been limiting non-essential visits.

Megli said many of City Union Mission’s residents are high-risk with compromised immune systems or underlying health conditions.

“Providing these tests to our residents is another way we can help reduce the spread of the virus,” Megli said. “As the number of individuals and families experiencing the financial devastation of the virus increases, the Mission is preparing for more people to turn to us for help.”

The mission is asking for the community’s support to ensure they have enough supplies to care for the potential influx of those needing help. They are collecting donations of soap, sanitizer, tissues, toilet paper, disinfectants, disposable masks and gloves, fruit, vegetables, bottled water and healthy snacks.

Donations can be dropped off weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 1700 E. 8th St. Monetary donations can be made online at cityunionmission.org.

As Kansas City and surrounding municipalities begin to re-open in earnest, many residents are looking to be tested before returning to work or other activities.

The City of Kansas City, Missouri Department of Health (KCHD) is holding testing clinics in conjunction with KC CARE Health Center, Swope Health and Samuel U. Rodgers Health Center around the city daily from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., or until supplies last.

The tests are available to residents of Kansas City, Jackson County and Clay County. Residents do not need to be exhibiting symptoms to be tested. The test consists of a swab inside the nose to take a sample, which can be uncomfortable, according to KCHD.

Those wishing to be tested should call 311 for an appointment by 5 p.m. the day prior to the desired date. Appointments are recommended due to high demand for testing.

On Thursday, June 11, a testing clinic will be set up at Progressive Missionary Baptist Church at 2945 Bales Ave.

Monday, June 15, Central High School at 3221 Indiana Ave. will be the testing site.

Tuesday, June 16, KCHD will hold a testing clinic at Southeast High School, 3500 E Meyer Blvd. and Kellybrook Elementary School at 10701 N. Easter Ave.

Wednesday, June 17, the testing clinic will be at Mount Pleasant Missionary Baptist Church, 2200 Olive St.

On Thursday, June 18, Independence Boulevard Christian Church, 606 Gladstone Blvd., will host the testing center.

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