GCC Launches Campaign to Test Thousands for COVID-19


GCC Protest Pins on day of Detroit Protest (3/22/2017). - SAM ALLARD / SCENE
  • Sam Allard / Scene
  • GCC Protest Pins on day of Detroit Protest (3/22/2017).
Greater Cleveland Congregations (GCC), the coalition of faith groups most prominent in the region for its opposition to the Q Deal in 2017, is launching an initiative to test thousands of people for Covid-19.

Called the "Color of Health" campaign, the testing initiative will place special emphasis on testing African-Americans and other marginalized communities with the goal of combating the racial disparities the virus has exposed.

GCC has enlisted 18 congregations to serve as free testing sites. With the aid of MetroHealth and logistical and financial support from the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, testing is scheduled to begin next week. 

“There is an intersecting point between where race, poverty and this virus meet and it is ground zero for the worst of this pandemic,” said Rev. Jawanza Karriem Colvin, one of the campaign co-chairs, in a statement provided to the media. “We aim to meet it head-on.”

In addition to testing, GCC says it will conduct  a Covid-19 survey to gauge how the community is responding, and to determine how best to deploy resources, push for policy changes and advocate for public spending. GCC intends to share the data it collects with local elected leaders and use it to drive the policy conversation in ongoing response efforts.

"Our community is in dire need of support to overcome the negative economic, emotional and physical effects of COVID-19,” said Rev. James Quincy of Lee Road Baptist Church, in a statement provided to the media. “We are working to deliver critical support.”

The testing will be conducted in partnership with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health and MetroHealth. County Executive Armond Budish recently authorized $5 million in county funds to increase Covid-19 testing through the summer.

“The lack of access to testing for the coronavirus has been dangerous and even deadly to the residents of Cuyahoga County and people all over the world,” said Budish, in a statement last month. “An increase in testing capacity means quick identification of cases, quick treatment for those people and immediate isolation to prevent spread.”

At all 18 GCC sites, the testing will be conducted outdoors, in church parking lots. With three mobile units, MetroHealth will provide the testing equipment and administer the tests themselves. GCC, in addition to contributing the testing locations, will do advance community outreach. Both drive-up and walk-up testing options will be available, both of which will be free of charge.

"The only caveat," said GCC's Executive Director and Lead Organizer Keisha Krumm, "is that people have to pre-register." (Registrations will be available at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health website.)

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