Mayors across Jefferson County are leading an effort to bring COVID-19 testing to their communities by partnering with Live HealthSmart Alabama and the University of Alabama at Birmingham Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Center (MHRC).
Increasing options for testing is critical to reach all population groups, especially those in minority communities. Since August, Live HealthSmart Alabama has expanded its COVID-19 testing to such minority communities throughout Jefferson County, including Morris, Midfield, Kimberly, Bessemer, Trussville and many more – a task made possible by the mayors’ invitations into those communities.
Community testing is an essential part of the strategy to contain, and ultimately end, the pandemic.
“The MHRC has been a leader in community testing for COVID-19 in Birmingham and Jefferson County since we launched mobile testing locations early in the pandemic,” said Dr. Mona Fouad, director of the MHRC. “We are pleased to expand our partnership with these mayors to deliver testing across Jefferson County and help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.”
Residents in rural and minority communities need to have the opportunity for testing. While other testing facilities are focused on population density, Live HealthSmart Alabama actively seeks out smaller neighborhoods that are often overlooked. And, in areas such as Hueytown, it is the perfect fit.
“UAB is making testing possible and convenient for our citizens,” said Brannan Clark, Hueytown’s fire marshal and safety officer. “The timing couldn’t be better; just before Thanksgiving when many families will gather for the first time in months. This testing is convenient and safe, especially for our seniors who haven’t left their homes much.”
Also working to bring Live HealthSmart Alabama testing to their communities are Joe Pylant, mayor of Morris; Kimberly Mayor Bob Ellerbrock; and Gardendale Mayor Stan Hogeland. Testing is available through Nov. 19 in Hueytown, thanks to the efforts of Mayor Steve Ware, and in Trussville through the support of Mayor Buddy Choat.
Funding is provided by the Jefferson County Commission through federal coronavirus funding, with the goal of increasing community-based testing in the county, particularly in areas serving vulnerable populations.
This story originally appeared on the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s UAB News website.