Expert believes COVID-19 testing sites must be mobile to help vulnerable communities

Two Walgreens stores now the newest COVID-19 drive-thru testing sites in Harris County. The stores located at 14531 Westheimer Road in Houston and 101 West Southmore Avenue in Pasadena have the capacity to do 200 tests per day. The tests are by appointment only and people must first complete an online assessment.

Earlier this week, in an effort to reach more vulnerable minority communities, a drive-thru testing site opened at Cullen Middle School in South Houston. No appointment or pre-screening is required. It was the latest of four free drive-thru testing sites operated by United Memorial Medical Center. However, Dr. Ezemenari Obasi, the director of the HEALTH Research Institute at the University of Houston does not think this is truly reaching the vulnerable, minority communities."If people are going have to get into a car and get to a place, you've eliminated access to a whole lot of individuals," he told FOX 26.

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Obasi says one of the biggest burdens on low-income communities is transportation...he believes testing sites must be mobile or within walking distance. "I can tell you in the work that we've done in communities, we've actually had to take treatments to neighborhoods," he added. He also believes there needs to be institutions or people of trust present given concerns such immigration status and the anxiety of past medical experiments on black communities.

"Getting the results on the spot because then that's also more credibility that it actually applies to me versus who knows what happens to once I give you my biological samples," Obasi explained. He says it will also help do much more rapid surveillance of vulnerable populations. City of Houston's department of public health and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee's office did confirm they are working on making mobile testing possible.