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COVID-19 community testing day on Buffalo’s East Side reaches more than 100 residents

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Courtesy of Jericho Road Community Health Center
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Jericho Road Community Health Center held a second day of community COVID-19 testing Thursday at its Broadway Clinic on Buffalo’s East Side.";

Jericho Road Community Health Center held a second day of community COVID-19 testing Thursday on Buffalo’s East Side. And unlike some testing sites, the Broadway Clinic doesn’t require an appointment, prescription or health insurance.

Chief Operating Officer Dr. Ethan Gable said Jericho Road is committed to helping test as many of its patients and community members as possible.

“We set up testing that’s outside, we made an announcement through our social media, and really kind of even went door-to-door in the area, that’s an especially hard-hit area on the East Side of Buffalo,” Gable said. “Overall, we need more tests. Everybody agrees with that. And at Jericho Road, we’re trying to do our part in that.”

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Credit Courtesy of Jericho Road Community Health Center
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Takesha Leonard, Jericho Road Community Health Center’s East Side Medical Director, helps evaluate patients at the Broadway Clinic.

Gable said the clinic, located at 1021 Broadway, can accommodate about 200 patients per community testing day and that future dates will be announced on Jericho Road’s Facebook page. Both nasal swab tests for the active novel coronavirus and antibody blood tests are available. “Well over 100” patients were tested between 8:30 a.m. and late Thursday afternoon, Gable told WBFO.

With testing capacity gradually expanding across Western New York, Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz has urged all residents who believe they may have been exposed to COVID-19 to get tested—even if they don’t show any symptoms. Similarly, Gable encouraged anyone who thinks they might be sick or might have been exposed to the virus to get tested. At the Broadway Clinic, a Jericho Road medical provider will determine which test is most appropriate for each patient.

Meeting certain testing requirements is also a key component of Governor Andrew Cuomo’s regional guidelines for reopening New York State. Each region must have the capacity to perform 30 tests for every 1,000 residents, and Western New York is not there yet.

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Credit Courtesy of Jericho Road Community Health Center
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Courtesy of Jericho Road Community Health Center
Stephanie Glick (left), a medical student, and nurse Aster Nemosa (right) help out at Jericho Road's first community COVID-19 testing day.

Gable also said that Jericho Road is using the community testing days to help uninsured patients explore healthcare options. Lower access to healthcare coverage is one factor cited by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that helps explain why the coronavirus pandemic has had such a disproportionate impact on minority groups, including African Americans.

“We know that there’s these inequities in our medical system. You know, I don’t think there’s many people that would disagree with that statement. I think where we become more divided is when we talk about the solutions to that,” Gable said.

“Hopefully this will be somewhat of a wake-up call for us as a medical community to realize a) that we’re under-prepared when it comes to large-scale pandemics… but also [to address] the medical inequalities that we know exist. Hopefully we will pay more attention to that and as a nation come together to agree on some real solutions.”

Additional COVID-19 testing on Buffalo’s East Side will take place at the Greater Faith Bible Tabernacle Church, located at 391 Edison Street, on Monday, May 11, and Friday, May 15, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Buffalo Common Councilmember Rasheed Wyatt announced Thursday. Appointments are strongly encouraged.

Kyle Mackie is a multimedia journalist with reporting experience in Israel and the Palestinian territories, the Western Balkans and New York City. She joined WBFO to cover education and more in June 2019.
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