Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins Medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center, BUILD Announce Mobile, On-Demand Testing Partnership
Thursday Jul 9th, 2020
BALTIMORE, MD. — Today, Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young, the Baltimore City Health Department, Johns Hopkins Medicine, University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC), and BUILD announced a partnership to increase access to mobile, on-demand testing for COVID-19. Mayor Young issued the following statement:
“This partnership will help us increase testing availability for our residents across the city, and reduce barriers we know our residents have experienced,” Mayor Young said. “I want to thank Health Commissioner Dr. Letitia Dzirasa and our partners at Johns Hopkins and UMMS for their efforts in setting up this partnership.”
The Baltimore City Health Department’s testing site at Pimlico Race Course, operated in conjunction with the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), allows residents to schedule appointments online without a referral. While an appointment is strongly encouraged, residents can also access testing without an appointment, as long as supplies are available. Testing at Pimlico occurs on Tuesday and Thursdays, weather permitting.
“Removing the referral requirement will increase access to testing by allowing residents to choose testing locations based on location and convenience,” Dr. Dzirasa said. “Widespread testing is a critical piece in the puzzle to reducing the spread of COVID-19.”
The Health Department will continue to operate its mobile testing sites with community-based partners. All of these sites are on-demand, first come first served – residents should check https://coronavirus.baltimorecity.gov or the Health Department’s social media accounts each day to confirm schedules and hours.
Johns Hopkins Medicine is leading an initiative to provide COVID-19 testing to hard-hit areas in the Eastern part of Baltimore City. The team’s first testing event took place on Thursday, June 25, at Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Highlandtown, in the 21224 ZIP code, chosen based on the Health Department’s analysis of COVID-19 data trends.
“Johns Hopkins Medicine recognizes how important it is to meet our communities where they live to provide critical testing capabilities for areas that have been significantly impacted by COVID-19,” says Sherita Golden, M.D., M.H.S., vice president and chief diversity officer at Johns Hopkins Medicine, professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and one of the organizers of the Johns Hopkins Medicine initiative. “We’ve tested hundreds of people at our community testing events so far, and we are committed to continuing our future events in our joint efforts to stop the spread of this devastating illness.”
“As an anchor institution in Baltimore, the University of Maryland Medical Center is committed to the health of our community, and bringing resources to where they are needed most,” said Dana Farrakhan, MHS, SVP, Strategy, Community and Business Development, University of Maryland Medical Center. “Mobile testing for COVID-19 provides an important opportunity for us to reach more of our neighbors with this vital health service as we all work together to prevent the spread, and identify and care for those who test positive.”
“The communities impacted the most by COVID-19 are often the communities with the most obstacles to accessing testing. The success of this collective effort depends on the vital partnership among health institutions, political officials, and community residents,” Pastor George Hopkins, pastor at Sowebo Community Church and a leader with BUILD. “It is important that the community knows their voice has been, and will continue to be, a significant contribution to this effort to serve their community.”