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San Diego County And Mexican Consulate Announce Latino COVID-19 Testing Strategy

Nancy Maldonado, Sup. Nathan Fletcher, Mexican Consul González Gutiérrez, Bar...

Credit: Consulado General de México en San Diego

Above: Nancy Maldonado, Sup. Nathan Fletcher, Mexican Consul González Gutiérrez, Barbara Jiménez and Nich Macchione announcing new COVID-19 testing sites at a press conference in the Little Italy neighborhood of San Diego County. Sept. 11, 2020.

A comprehensive outreach strategy to expand testing access for Latino residents and other communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic was announced Friday by local leaders.

The new program will kick off on Monday, with a new testing site at the Mexican Consulate in downtown San Diego at 1549 India St. Starting at 8 a.m., free walk-up appointments will be available until 3:30 p.m., according to the announcement from San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher, Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico in San Diego and other local leaders.

"We are prioritizing our response to health inequities in the Latino community by prioritizing efforts to help address accessibility barriers that are contributing to Latinos being disproportionately impacted by this pandemic," Fletcher said. "Whether you live in the south, north or east of our county, you should have access to testing and resources to prevent and treat the spread of COVID-19."

The consulate will be the first of several locations in a 14-day rotation. Two other confirmed sites include San Luis Rey Mission in Oceanside and St. Anthony of Padua Church in National City. Dates, times and additional locations will be announced as soon as they are finalized.

RELATED: San Diego’s Black And Latino Neighborhoods Hit With COVID-19 Triple Whammy

According to the group, by working with partners like the consulate, Catholic Diocese of San Diego, the Chicano Federation and others, this testing initiative will enhance San Diego County's regional effort to expand coronavirus testing and outreach in the Latino community.

"The consulate is proud to be part of the efforts to encourage testing and diagnosis among the Latino community, a community that, unfortunately, has been disproportionately hit by COVID-19," said Gonzalez Gutierrez. "Part of what is necessary for our community to reach out to testing sites is for them to feel safe and understand that they can access public health services regardless of their migratory status."

Nancy Maldonado, executive director of Chicano Federation, and Barbara Jimenez, general manager of the central and south regions of the County Health and Human Services Agency, joined the politicians Friday to announce the new testing site and the overarching strategy.

"This testing site will allow us to reach an important population," said Jimenez. "Until we have a widely available vaccine, testing will remain an absolutely critical part of our public health response."

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