Hundreds of people lined up in West Akron today for free in-car coronavirus testing.
The parking lot at the House of the Church of the Lord was filled with the sound of idle cars on Saturday morning as people crawled into a row of doctors and technicians from Summa Health and Summit County Public Health. The test itself took only a few seconds. But it highlights health disparities according to the church’s associate pastor, Herman Matherson.
“If you have a heart and lungs and can breathe, COVID-19 wants you [and] you’re a candidate and that’s what we need to understand. “
Matherson says that among members of his congregation, many of whom are black, elderly, or both, there has been deep concern about the coronavirus since health department numbers showed that the disease was disproportionately affecting African-Americans.
“There is fear, nobody wants to catch him. No one wants to be around people who are not doing PPE protocols (masks, hand sanitizer, social distancing). There is some anguish because a pandemic has taken to draw attention to some of the problems that have been going on in our community for a while, that we already knew, and have now exacerbated.
“With the pre-existing conditions prevailing in the African American community, [the disease] thrives even more: obesity, diabetes, heart conditions, [and] kidney conditions. “
Akron’s Destry Brooks suffers from lupus and was one of the people tested Saturday.
“The trial is free, you can’t beat that! Everyone needs to get out. In this neighborhood, we have to be safe. “
She plans to bring her three adult children back for testing on Sunday, when the testing site at 1650 Diagonal Road will be open from 11 am to 1 pm and from 3 pm to 5 pm
Recent Summit County Health numbers show that the infection rate among African Americans has stabilized, but is increasing among the county’s Asian population, specifically those in North Hill. Health Commissioner Donna Skoda says they are considering holding a similar car event in that part of Akron.