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Johns Hopkins leads effort to bring COVID-19 testing to hard-hit communities in Baltimore

Johns Hopkins Medicine is leading an initiative to provide COVID-19 testing to hard-hit areas of Baltimore City that continue to report a significant number of cases.

The initiative is in collaboration with the Maryland Department of Health, the Baltimore City Health Department and Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development (BUILD).

The team plans to continue testing in Baltimore neighborhoods several days a week and recommends community members schedule an appointment for testing. It also plan to move to other locations within the city and potentially beyond Baltimore as needed.

Kathleen Page, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and one of the individuals who helped organize the testing effort, said the university is working with the Baltimore City Health Department to identify areas with a significant number of COVID-19 cases. She said the goal of the initiative is to test 150 people at each event to prevent further spread of the illness.

The team’s first testing event took place June 25 at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in east Baltimore in the 21224 ZIP code, which was designated as a “hot spot” by the city health department. A total of 85 people were tested during the event. The neighborhood and parish have a largely Latinx population and Johns Hopkins Medicine experts say the Latinx community has seen a spike in cases locally and nationally.

During the June 25 event, Johns Hopkins clinicians and staff set up a temporary testing site for the event in the church’s parking lot. The testing teams follow up with those tested within 24 to 48 hours to give them their test results, help them get appropriate care and share other resources.

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