COVID pandemic: LA charter school group hopes to break stigma, get Westlake community tested

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Camino Nuevo Charter Academy has been offering free COVID-19 testing at Dalzell Lance High School since October, but it's taken some time to get people in the MacArthur Park and Westlake communities to actually show up.

"They're scared to get tested, they're embarrassed to get tested," said Adriana Abich, the Camino Nuevo's CEO.

Because of this, the charter school group has ramped up its efforts to reverse the stigma and therefore reduce the spread, especially now that numbers are up.

"By us hosting this, we're making it normal, we're making it a positive place where parents and families know that they can get support from us," said Abich.

School officials hope their familiar campus creates a more comfortable atmosphere compared to larger testing sites like Dodger Stadium.

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"We're not just an academic institution - obviously. We want to be sure that we're being part of the solution," said Larry Boone, principal of Dalzell Lance High School.

This week, their efforts appear to be paying off with an impressive 400 of 500 appointments made on Monday. Varisel Aposta came because she has a family member that tested positive.

"If we don't know that we have a positive, then it keeps going and going you know," said Aposta, who's glad it's being offered here.

"We can't just be like oh no, we don't want to get a covid test or it's not real, a lot of people think it's not real so, but it is real," she said.

The drive-thru self administered test is done with a mouth swab that's dropped off at the end of the line, making it quick and easy.

"We're just excited to be part of the fabric of the community and we'll do whatever to help make sure our community is safe," said Boone.

"In order for us to work side by side with our families, with the community, we are really encouraging everyone to get here," Abich said.

Anyone in the community can make an appointment at the site. To do so, visit Results are available in 24 to 48 hours.
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