Since the spread of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, there has been a fight for states to provide more testing in order to contain and combat the virus. The United States has been lagging behind when it comes to providing proper testing for its residents as compared to other countries that have made efforts to make the test readily available and free of charge. In one of the country’s epicenters for the viral outbreak, an HBCU institution is stepping up to provide COVID-19 testing for the local community.
Last week, Howard University announced its Faculty Practice Plan in partnership with Bank of America with the opening of a free COVID-19 testing center to serve communities located east of the river. The testing site opened a few weeks back at the newly-repurposed Benning Road Center.
“Many of our patients travel great distances to come to Howard University Hospital, which makes it challenging to seek medical attention at the first sign of illness,” said Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick in a press statement. “Our goal is to meet the community where they live so their access to care greatly improves and hopefully we can reduce the spread of the coronavirus.”
“You will not need to have a doctor’s prescription in advance to get tested at our location,” said Dr. Hugh E. Mighty, Howard University vice president of clinical affairs said in a statement reported by FOX 5 DC.
“We want to eliminate the obstacles so more people can be tested because we believe everyone should be tested. We want to screen our community neighbors in the areas where there are higher incidents of hypertension, heart disease and diabetes because those pre-existing conditions are linked to the higher incidents of coronavirus that we’ve seen in African American communities.”
Testing will be available on Tuesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the next three months with no prescription needed. The Howard University team will see patients who are “showing symptoms or who believe they are asymptomatic.” D.C. residents can sign up for an appointment by calling 202-865-2119, option 3.