Shelby County Health Dept. hosts mass testing event in hopes to reaching the Hispanic community


MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Shelby County Health Department is taking a direct approach to target underserved communities in need of COVID-19 testing. Sunday, they hosted a mass testing event with hopes of reaching the Hispanic community.

Doctors and nurses filled Sacred Heart Catholic Church basement looking to test members of the Hispanic and Latinx community, a community that’s been directly impacted by COVID-19.

The only problem was barely anyone showed up.

“The problem with our community right now is very few are coming,” Javier Rodriguez, one of the event organizers, said.

The Shelby County Health Department in partnership with Latino Memphis put on the event with hopes of reaching the Hispanic community which makes up roughly 20-percent of COVID cases in Shelby County.

Spanish translators were even on standby to further assist and help educate those in need. But while WREG-TV was covering the event, we witnessed only one person come to get tested.

Rodriguez said his community is special to him but he is disappointed in the low turnout. However, he said he has a theory as to why no one showed up.

“Most of them after church, they’re hungry,” Rodriguez said. “They’ve got kids. They go home. or some of them are afraid. They are afraid to know they have it.”

Rodriguez said he understands the fear the virus may have on the Hispanic and Latinx community, but he said it is better to know than to be in the dark.

“The thing is, is that it’s better for them to know that they have something, so they can be checked, and they can be treated.”

Officials said they plan on having several more mass testing events in the Hispanic and Latinx community, as well as other underserved communities in the following months.

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