ALLEN COUNTY, Ind. (WPTA21) - An area of Fort Wayne where people are at a high risk of getting the novel coronavirus is now scheduled to host free drive-thru testing for the virus later this month.
Starting next week, for three straight weeks on Thursdays and Fridays, the Fort Wayne Public Safety Academy at 7602 Patriot Crossing will be a site available for folks to come see if they are COVID-19 positive.
Just like with drive-thru testing that has been held in recent days at Bishop Dwenger High School, members of the public will be able to go online and register at http://krogerhealth.com/covidtesting and if they're eligible, they can make an appointment and come to the safety academy where they can self-administer a nasal swab to produce a sample for analysis.
The testing dates are May 14-15, May 21-22 and May 28-29.
Results come back in about 72 hours.
The new testing announcement for the safety academy comes as the Allen County chapter of Faith in Indiana held a virtual town hall Tuesday with roughly 125 people taking part.
The participants have pushed for free drive-thru testing on the southeast side and at the meeting celebrated their ongoing efforts that they believe helped bring about the free testing option.
It's important because African Americans are more than twice as likely to get sick or die of COVID-19 compared to their white counterparts.
"This is a critical crisis that we are living through right now and if we don't have the capacity to touch all those populations who are affected by COVID, it could wreak havoc on our city as a whole," said Democratic Fort Wayne city councilwoman at-large Michelle Chambers, who took part in the meeting.
Audrey Davis, with Faith in Indiana, says, "We know that the work is not done, but that this is a step to ensure health access to communities too often not prioritized — as families make the decisions around resuming work, they deserve the right of knowing if they are sick or not."
The organization also supports:
> Long-term, no-cost testing on the southeast side
> A local contact tracing program that hires local people who are culturally competent, and includes distribution of PPE and other forms of supported isolation
> An Economic Relief Fund that includes everyone
> Pursuing a strategy with county legal and law enforcement officials to conduct targeted release of non-violent offenders in the Allen County Jail, especially those still awaiting trial and unable to pay bail as a way to better control the spread of the virus.