Free COVID-19 testing offered at several Black churches in LA County

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Several African American churches across Los Angeles County are now offering free COVID-19 testing.

The testing kicked off at the First AME Church, and it's part of an effort by L.A. County Health Services to reach out to the community. The service is free.

"No need to make an appointment, no need to have health insurance, no need to be afraid to get tested at the one place trusted by African Americans," said Rev. Judi Wortham from the Tabernacle Community Development.

Officials behind the effort say the faith community is a trusted source of information and influence for African Americans. Black churches can inform about the importance of COVID-19 testing.

"We're very nervous when it's government testing, shots, the whole Tuskegee tests," said Dwayne Foster, who was one of the first in line. "So, I think you have to have comfort, you have to have some kind of comfort."

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A new mobile testing clinic hopes to reach underserved Chinese-American and Latino communities.

Officials say testing is still very important to reduce mortality.

"Testing remains a key strategy for reducing community transmission of this virus even with the arrival of the vaccine," said Dr. Clemens Hong from the L.A. County Health Services.

"Testing needs to go on until everybody is vaccinated, until the greater part of the population has received that inoculation against this terrible disease," said The Rev. "J." Edgar Boyd from the First AME Church.

The first ones to take the test say it is vital to the community. Otherwise, they might not be able to get a test at all.

"We've had lack of access to testing and now that testing is more available, I think everybody in the city needs to take advantage of the free testing," Anna Moore from Los Angeles told Eyewitness News.

At all eight sites combined, officials expect to test more than 1,200 people a day.
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