Free COVID-19 Testing Site Opens Up In Kearns
Jul 8, 2020, 5:28 PM | Updated: 7:46 pm
KEARNS, Utah – As Utah set another daily record for COVID-19 cases, one Salt Lake County community is testing those who otherwise might be overlooked.
Kearns wants to make sure everyone in their ethnically diverse community can get tested if they need it.
TestUtah now has eight drive-through COVID-19 testing sites throughout the state. Officials opened the latest site in Kearns Wednesday morning, urging everyone who thinks they have the virus to get tested.
“We’ve been seeing a few spikes of numbers in COVID out here in this area, and it’s been a big concern,” said Laurie Stringham, a member of the board of trustees in Kearns.
Kearns partnered with TestUtah and the Utah Department of Health to put on free testing at Kearns Oquirrh Park Recreation Center.
“We have a lot of health and wellness issues out here because we serve a very unique, and vast and diverse group of residents,” said Stringham.
It’s a population that includes many Hispanic and Polynesian people, and immigrants from many countries.
“There are underserved populations that need access to testing,” said Joshua Walker, COO of NOMI Health.
Approximately one-third of the population in the immediate area of the recreation center is Hispanic. Recent state data showed Hispanic people make up 17% of Utah’s population, but accounted for 43% of all positive COVID-19 cases — a critical reason to expand testing.
“Really targeted to make sure that the individuals living on the west side of Salt Lake have ample access to testing,” said Walker.
“There are older homes people have had for a long time,” said state Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns. “So, we have an older population here that’s really at risk.”
They are also trying to reach those who are fearful of the government because they are not legal residents.
“They won’t get help,” said Stringham. “They’ll continue going into work sick, and we want to combat that. We want everybody healthy.”
They are testing people who scheduled online, after taking a health evaluation at TestUtah.com. Scheduling helps keep people from waiting in line in the heat. They are returning test results within three days.
“Right now, we are running at about 40 hours,” said Walker.
Right now, they’re testing eight people an hour. If the demand grows, they will expand hours.