New Chinatown COVID-19 testing site aims to help underserved communities

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- The coronavirus pandemic has hit people of color much harder, with lack of access to testing being just one issue.

But a new mobile testing clinic hopes to reach underserved Chinese American and Latino communities.

One of the largest community-based health and human service organizations in Southern California is taking action to improve access to those most vulnerable.

COVID-19 is hitting close to home for Dario Huatay of Alhambra.

"My daughter turned out to be positive," he said. "And it's the only reason I decided to be tested."

Thanks to federal funds and a $200,000 Neighborhood Builder Bank of America grant, the Chinatown Service Center just opened a new COVID-19 mobile testing site to fill the void after Dodger Stadium switched to giving vaccinations.

Dr. Felix Aguilar said his clinic has been treating dozens of coronavirus patients daily.

"Anybody who wants to get a test," he said. "We are open to anybody."

The mobile unit will help reach many more in underserved Asian and Latino communities. The multilingual staff can speak Mandarin, Cantonese and Spanish.

Clients are swabbed out in the parking lot and the specimens are brought to an onsite lab where the staff prepares a PCR test and performs rapid antigen tests.

Nurse practitioner Lisa Tran said, "In 15 minutes and 10 seconds we will get the results for influenza A, influenza B and for COVID."

The staff does ask for insurance and identification, but you don't need to provide either to get tested.

Aguilar said, "The idea is to give information with or without symptoms because as you know the pandemic is raging."

When more vaccine supplies become available, Aguilar hopes the mobile unit will also administer shots. Something Huatay would wholeheartedly welcome.

"Yes, if you have the shot now," he said. "Give it to me now."

The Chinatown Service Center is working on getting a second mobile unit to reach more communities in the west San Gabriel Valley. For now, the testing site at the Chinese Confucius School is open 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday.
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