Officials share how crucial it is for the younger demographic to go get tested ahead of free COVID-19 testing

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FAIRMONT, W.Va. – The COVID-19 Advisory Commission on African American Taskforce held a demonstration on how drive through COVID-19 testing happens as a way to encourage the younger demographic to go out and get tested.

The taskforce’s mission is to help the population who is at most risk of the virus. Through research that is updated weekly, Commissioner Romelia Hodges said that the average age being effected now by the coronavirus is now 23 years old.

“Our purpose, our goal, is to get the word out there, so people can go get tested,” said Hodges. “The average age getting infected was not this young adult age before, but now it is. The scary part for me is this, age group is the most likely to be active, and mobile, and also be asymptomatic. That’s why getting tested is so important, because I wouldn’t want anyone to not show symptoms and then bring it back into their homes and infect their family.”

The COVID-19 African American Taskforce is partnered with the Marion and Taylor County Health Departments. This Saturday August 1, they will be holding a free COVID-19 drive through testing at Windmill Park from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

“We have a slogan in the task force, it’s ‘I did my part.’ It’s my goal to get the information out there to Marion county residents, to residents of North Central West Virginia,” Hodges said. “If that is my part, then do your part, come and get tested.”

Incoming freshman on the West Virginia University Men’s Basketball team and Fairmont native Jalen Bridges, volunteered to be the one tested in the demonstration. He said that it’s our time, as a community, to do the right thing, to help each other out.

“Its not a painful feeling, it’s just awkward, I mean something is up your nose. But if that’s all it takes, four seconds maybe, to keep each other safe, it’s worth it for everyone to just go get it done,” said Bridges. “This is important for everyone. The younger generation they go hang with their friends, then their grandparents, parents who may be older. You can’t think about yourself right now, it’s really thinking about humanity, and that’s exactly how I look at it, and treat it.”

Lloyd White with the Marion County Health Department said this is the first free testing they have been able to hold in a few weeks. The more people that get tested, the better they can track where the virus is going.

For more information on the taskforce, you can visit the website, or Facebook page.

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