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Three Southeastern San Diego Churches Are Providing Free COVID-19 Testing

A sign on Encanto Southern Baptist Church announces free COVID-19 testing is available Monday-Friday 10-5 PM.png
Melissa Mae
Encanto Southern Baptist Church sign showcasing the free COVID-19 testing provided Monday to Friday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm in southeastern San Diego on September 27, 2021.

The county lost a testing site in southeast San Diego when the Tubman-Chavez Community Center permanently closed their doors last Thursday. It will be replaced with a new Southeastern Live Well Center, set for groundbreaking next week.

In the meantime, some local churches have stepped in to help the county continue to provide free COVID-19 testing in southeastern San Diego.

Three Southeastern San Diego Churches Are Providing Free COVID-19 Testing
Listen to this story by Melissa Mae.

One of those churches is the Encanto Southern Baptist Church. That’s where we found Kim Forrester, a chief at the San Diego County Health & Human Services vaccine and testing operations.

“It was really important to us to be in the community and the churches were the ones that offered. We weren’t able to find other sites. So we had these three churches that stepped up to fill that void,” Forrester said.

“Churches are so important to the community. They are trusted partners. They’re so supportive of their communities,” Forrester continued.“So, they stepped up to offer these services because they know how needed it is in their community.”

The Tubman Chavez Center had played a vital role since the onset of the pandemic. Since June 29, 2020, it has provided over 182,000 COVID tests and more than 5,700 vaccinations.

The new testing facilities will expand testing availability from five to seven days among the locations and no appointment is necessary.


Richard Boyd is an Ocean Beach resident, and was one the many San Diegans getting tested today. Boyd told KPBS he was "pretty happy" about the church testing sites. "This is very convenient, actually. It’s not that far and it’s a very necessary service,” he said.

Three Southeastern Churches Are Providing Free COVID-19 Testing

This site is utilizing an “unobserved” model of testing, where people can self-administer COVID tests. Several clinicians are on site to assist too.

“There are illustrated instructions on the table that walk the individual through and if they have any questions... there is a clinician available,” Forrester said.

The three new free COVID-19 testing sites are the Bayview Baptist Church, Encanto Southern Baptist Church and City of Hope International Church. Masks are required. Go to to learn more about the sites.