By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times
As the number of COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Jefferson County, Birmingham City Council President Pro Tempore Wardine Alexander believes it is important for residents to get testing where they live.
This week, in partnership with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and the Jefferson County Department of Health (JCDH), Alexander hosted a mask giveaway and free drive-thru COVID-19 test site at Bryant Chapel AME Church in West Birmingham.
“We’re looking for ways to keep people safe so allowing this testing site and working in conjunction with them will help people to be aware,” Alexander said.
As of Tuesday, Alabama had more than 49,000 COVID-19 cases with over 6,000 in Jefferson County including a large number in Alexander’s District 7 in Birmingham.
“We know that there is a disparity in health care and for people of this community,” Alexander said, “we’re excited to see UAB and the public health department work in conjunction to provide testing for people who could be affected by COVID-19 [and those] who could have issues that make them more susceptible to it and are at higher risk.”
Residents came to the testing site by appointment or vehicle.
“It’s very important that we have citizens participate in our drive-up sites because we know for various reasons that some individuals may not have cars or access to public transportation, so we want to make sure that everyone knows that we are committed to their community,” said Theresa Wallace, M.D., Program Director, UAB School of Medicine Division of Preventive Medicine. “We’re not asking them to come to us, we are willing to come to them and meet them where they’re at, meet their needs right at their back door. We’re appreciative to [Pastor Damien Littlejohn, pastor of Bryant Chapel AME where the giveaway and testing was held] and Councilwoman Alexander and others for opening up their community and their church parking lot so that we can come and be of service.”
Approximately 50 residents made appointments and another 20 were able to drive up, Wallace said.
No one should be afraid of testing, she said. “We don’t want fear to be a determent,” she said. “We don’t want that to be a barrier because we want everyone to take advantage of the services we offer.”
For additional information on testing sites and dates call 205-975-2819.