Mayor Lovely A. Warren, County Executive Bello, Jordan Health CEO and President Dr. Janice Harbin and Common Ground Health CEO Wade Norwood announced the opening of a pilot COVID-19 testing site in one of the city’s northwest neighborhoods. Held on Saturdays at Jordan Health Brown Square Center on Lake Avenue, the one-month pilot program will provide a convenient location for residents to walk up and be tested for the coronavirus while gaining relevant health care information.

“The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and I am extremely pleased to see a new testing site become available to residents in this neighborhood. We have a large refugee population that is often overlooked and we want to ensure that all of our residents have the same access to care and testing services,” said Mayor Lovely Warren. “We know that racial and ethnic minority groups are at an increased risk of infection for the coronavirus, and this testing location is critical to the health and safety of our residents. This is not the time to get comfortable. We need to remain vigilant in wearing masks, maintaining our distance from people and frequently washing our hands.”

“Locating a new COVID-19 testing site at the Jordan Health Brown Square Center will help ensure this vital service will be convenient and accessible for the people who need it most. COVID-19 does not discriminate but we know that some people, including people of color, are more at risk than others,” said Monroe County Executive Adam Bello. “This strong collaborative effort will make certain that some of the most vulnerable people in our community can easily get the testing and access to health care they need to make sure they and their families stay safe and healthy.”

“For residents, who don’t have a car, nearby walk up testing will literally be a lifesaver,” said Common Ground Health CEO Wade Norwood. “This collaborative initiative will help curb the spread of coronavirus and connect people quickly with the care they need.”

The COVID-19 testing site will be open to the public on Saturdays, Sept. 12, 19, 26 and Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at the Brown Square Center at 322 Lake Avenue. Residents will be able to walk up to available Jordan Health clinicians who will perform the nasal swabs. Participants are not required to have symptoms; however, they will be screened. Staff will notify people of their test results and will also be prepared to follow-up with them for needed health care, if they do not have a provider. Information about the ROC COVID symptom tracker (https://roccovid.org/) and the Census will also be provided.

The pilot testing site is sponsored by a United Way Crisis Fund grant obtained by Dr. Mahala Schlagman of the University of Rochester Medical Center. As part of the partnership, URMC has agreed to offset the cost of tests for uninsured patients.

“The convenience and accessibility of this new testing site for the community is critical; Dr. Schlagman’s dedication, and the United Way’s support, will make it possible to ensure access to COVID-19 testing for all,” said Nancy M. Bennett, M.D., M.S., director of the Center for Community Health & Prevention at URMC and member of the response team.  “Jordan Health is a valued partner delivering health care to our community, and the URMC is proud to join with them to provide rapid testing that will be processed at our Central Labs. Special thanks go to Kathy Parrinello, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Strong Memorial Hospital, and Nicole Pecora, M.D., Ph.D., Associate Director of Clinical Microbiology and Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, for their support of this program.” 

Through the City’s REAL (Race Equity and Leadership) initiative, Mayor Warren created a Rapid Response Team as a means to address the health disparities in the Black and Brown communities that have been hit hardest by the coronavirus. As a result, a collaborative group of individuals, supported by several organizations, have been working to provide education and prevention, testing and treatment as well as resources and service surrounding COVID-19 to the community. Those organizations include: County of Monroe, Black Physicians Network of Greater Rochester, Rochester Black Nurses Association, Common Ground Health, Jordan Health, Ibero American Action League, City of Rochester, Rochester Regional Health and University of Rochester.