Non-profit organization PAAC makes COVID-19 testing more accessible to the black community

BECKLEY, WV (WOAY) – To help make COVID-19 testing more accessible to the black community, the Partnership of African-American Churches (PAAC) held its second testing site Thursday afternoon at the Heart of God Ministries in Beckley. 

“It was a known fact that we were being affected by the virus more at a faster rate. It was way more harmful to people of color and we were having less test done in our areas. So we noticed that we could fill that void and step in and help that issue,” LPN Surge Team 2 Nurse Jameria Little said. 

This week, PAAC also organized another testing sites in Beckley at Multicultural Center. 

“It’s important to have sites like these in familiar places. People are very familiar Heart of God Ministries so this is a location where people don’t have to go out of my way.  It’s easy accessible and its known to them,” Little said. 

According to a new, extensive review of testing sites by ABC News, sites in communities of color in many major cities face higher demand than sites in whiter or wealthier areas in those same cities. The result of this disparity is clear: Black and Hispanic people are more likely to experience longer wait times and understaffed testing centers.

“Seeing a constant study face that looks like you do this is helpful to people of our community because we lack trust when it comes to things regarding healthcare because of past experiences that has happened with us. So it’s better in communities of color for them to see people of color working doing the at home providing the actual healthcare,” Little said. 

This Saturday another testing site will be held at Heart of God Ministries from noon to 6 p.m.