FAIRMONT, W.Va. – At least 500 people received COVID-19 tests in Windmill Park on Saturday morning and afternoon in Marion County as a result of a testing drive put on by the West Virginia COVID-19 Taskforce.
Cars with children, adults and seniors citizens in them lined up to get their information taken and to take tests throughout the day, in order to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19. Romelia Hodges, a commissioner with the West Virginia African American COVID-19 Taskforce, said the goal was to test as many people as possible by providing a free service that was also restriction free to the community so that they could know their COVID statuses. She added that there was a specific focus on the African American community, which has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.
“We have a disparity amongst African American youth right now, our number at the beginning of the pandemic was — 57 was around the average African American who had the virus,” Hodges said. “Today we’re looking at a number 22-23 years of age, so that means our young African Americans in the neighborhood here are being severely affected by the disease. Some of them are asymptomatic and have no idea that they are carrying the virus around. What’s even more scary is that African American males are the highest of those numbers. Our goal is for everyone to know their status and know that if they have the virus they can maybe not spread the virus to someone else in their community.”
Hodges said testing was a crucial part of helping to contain the virus and described herself as a vessel for accomplishing the necessary testing. She said she was glad to be doing whatever she could for West Virginians because she loves the state so much.
In addition, she thanked the state government, the West Virginia National Guard who help to administer tests, as well as the Herbert Henderson Office of Minority Affairs. Finally, she thanked the West Virginia DHHR for being a partner and providing the services they need to have testing sites.
“I would like to thank the community for coming out today,” Hodges added. “I’d like to thank you for coming out, doing your part and knowing your status.”