KEARNS, Utah — Despite the extreme rise in COVID-19 testing, some elected officials say certain communities are still being left out. They’re opening a new testing center in Kearns on Salt Lake County’s west side that’s free to the public.
Analysts say Hispanics make up over 35% of all Kearns residents, and Hispanics are the ethnic group being hit hardest by COVID-19 in Utah. Officials from TestUtah say this community accounts for nearly 40% of all positive cases in Salt Lake County, so they need much more access to testing.
New testing center in Kearns
When TestUtah reached out to the Kearns Oquirrh Park Fitness Center asking to place a free testing site on the facility’s south parking lot, Board Member Laurie Stringham says they jumped at the chance. She says number of cases is spiking in the city, and too many of their residents have been required to go to work during the pandemic.
“Out here, we actually have a high number of people in what we call ‘three-income families,’ where they literally have two full-time jobs and a part-time job just to live,” Stringham said.
Elected officials like Utah Sen. Karen Mayne, D-West Valley City, are hoping to spread the word about the new Kearns testing site. She says the more we test, the more knowledge people have to protect themselves and their families.
“We are essential workers. We are a senate district of teachers, fire fighters and police officers. They need to be protected,” Mayne said.
“This community needs it”
The site is run by Nomi Health, which has other free drive-through COVID-19 testing centers across Utah. Company officials say their usual wait time is less than 10 minutes and they usually get results back in about 48 hours. The site will stay in operation as long as the Utah Department of Health recommends it to be.
“This community needs it,” said Utah Rep. Eric Hutchings, R-Kearns, “because if you look at our demographics, Kearns has a really wide array of high-risk individuals.”
Along with getting tested, Hutchings urges all Kearns residents to take care of each other by following proper safety recommendations.
“There is a lot of conversation about wearing masks, washing your hands and social distancing. You guys, we can do this,” he says.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707
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