The IRC in Atlanta is partnering with CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort) to provide free walk-up COVID-19 testing to community members in Clarkston. Founded by actor Sean Penn and Ann Lee, CORE is working with local organizations across Georgia—and the U.S.—to provide much-needed access to COVID-19 testing.
Over the weekend of May 30, the IRC in Atlanta and CORE provided tests to an incredible 368 individuals from the parking lot of the Parc 1000 apartment complex in Clarkston. The IRC’s Omar Aziz was hired by CORE to manage the testing site and members of the refugee community—many of whom have previous medical experience—were hired and trained to staff the site and provide interpretation in 12 languages.
368 COVID-19 tests provided in one weekend in Clarkston!
“We believe the large turnout for this initial testing pilot was due to multiple reasons: we have a diverse staff hired from within the Clarkston community who speak a wide range of languages; community members have trust in the IRC and our presence helps those who have been reluctant to be tested feel at ease with the test process; and we are taking the testing directly into the community by working with the apartment complexes,” said the IRC in Atlanta’s Deputy Director, Justin Howell. “Our hope is that public health officials across the country see this approach as an effective model for reaching community members rather than relying on traditional methods of testing. We also hope that this is the first step in a broader testing project that reaches community members in the Clarkston/central DeKalb area. Additionally, I hope this unique testing approach will result in an approach to more robust contact tracing that is led by trained community members with the language and cultural competency needed for the next important phase of fighting this virus to be successful.”
The IRC in Atlanta is grateful for our partnership with CORE and look forward to announcing the dates and locations of further mobile testing sites soon.
To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Director, Marian Dickson, at Marian.Dickson [at] Rescue.org or 601-310-3174.