Officials announce the new round of COVID-19 outreach, focused on Latinos in the region. Photo credit: @ConsulMexSD, via Facebook

Outreach to expand testing access for Latino residents and other communities hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic will begin Monday, local leaders said.

The new program will kick off Monday, with a new testing site at the Mexican Consulate at 1549 India St., near Little Italy.

Walk-up testing will be available from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., according to Friday’s announcement from San Diego County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher and Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, Consul General of Mexico in San Diego.

Fletcher said the effort addresses “health inequities in the Latino community” in an attempt to remove “accessibility barriers that are contributing to Latinos being disproportionately impacted by this pandemic.”

“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,” he added.

The consulate will be the first of several testing locations open in a 14-day rotation.

Two other confirmed sites include San Luis Rey Church in Oceanside and St. Anthony of Padua in National City. Dates, times and additional locations will be announced as they are finalized.

Working with partners, the leaders said, including the consulate, Catholic Diocese of San Diego, and the Chicano Federation, will allow the testing initiative to enhance the regional effort to expand testing and outreach.

“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 officials Friday.

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

– City News Service

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