KEYSTONE, WV (WOAY) – McDowell County concluded testing for minority populations this weekend.
COVID-19 has a higher positive test rate for minority populations than the population as a whole. JJ Rose with the McDowell County Health Department says the county is working on testing more people in minority populations to get more accurate testing data.
“Around the state, different dates, and different counties, we’re doing some testing for the COVID-19. But this particular testing, we’re trying to target minority populations and so that’s why these last two dates we’ve done we’ve kind of pinpointed into the minority populations. So we’re trying to get that into our numbers,” Rose said.
The minority testing is especially important because the information can help benefit other states as well. Positive cases for minority populations are rising higher than others in not just West Virginia, but other states as well.
“We’re trying to target the minority populations because as you know, in west Virginia and in other states, the percent of positives for COVID-19 in the minority population is outpacing the actual percent of the population in the state and surrounding states.”
Ideally, the larger number of people tested gives scientists more data to work with when they figure out infection rates and the number of people likely affected. And then that information can help more people in the future.
“The more testing you get, the better picture you can get with that. And then hopefully if there is something we see going on that’ll help us get more information on and possibly more pinpointed information to the particular people we need to get that to.”
And according to JJ, this operation is taking the help from the whole community. It’s more than just the health department. People have to go and be willing to get tested. And officials from all around the county come out to help.
“This thing is bigger than one agency. It takes everybody to get this going. Because again it is state-wide, it is country-wide, it is planet-wide unfortunately. So everybody is working together and I just want to appreciate everybody.
The testing was free and available for anyone without a doctor’s note. The testing will give scientists more results to work with when they examine data, and they can hopefully pinpoint ways to help minority communities lower their positive testing rate in the future.
The testing in McDowell took place over two days and concluded today. Anyone in the area with symptoms can still call their local health department for help getting tested.