DENVER — Denver’s Latino community has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus, so a health clinic in a predominantly-Latino neighborhood is stepping up to help by opening a free drive-up COVID-19 testing site.
“We serve a predominantly Latino, underserved community. We’re about 98% Latino,” said Chief Medical Officer Dr. Pamela Valenza, of Clínica Tepeyac.
The clinic, in the Globeville-Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, has been testing their patients for COVID-19 since the pandemic started. But they also saw the need to serve the broader community, which is in many ways under attack by the coronavirus.
“The Hispanic community is being disproportionately affected. Here in Denver, the rates of the Latino community of positive tests are far exceeding the percentage of the Latino population,” Dr. Valenza said.
The Latino community makes up approximately 30% of Denver’s total population, yet accounts for more than half (nearly 53%) of the city’s COVID-19 cases, according to Denver Health data.
“We really want to make sure the Spanish-speaking community has access to COVID testing and we want to be that resource to the community,” the clinic’s CEO, Jim Garcia, told Denver7.
The clinic’s new drive-through COVID testing site opened this week, right next door to the clinic in the parking lot of the Globeville Community Church. It is open to anyone, with or without insurance, and regardless of immigration status. Tests are done by appointment only on Tuesdays from 1 p.m. – 5 p.m. and Thursdays from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m.
“We’re hoping for more non-clinic patients to get those services and to be available for anyone and everyone who wants to come,” Dr. Valenza said.
The goal is to bring in anyone who wants a test or has symptoms, without causing any hesitation or added concern about cost or providing personal information. By doing so, the clinic hopes to have a positive impact on individual health but also the bigger picture.
“It’s a matter of safety for the entire community to make sure everyone has opportunity to get tested and get back results as soon as possible,” Garcia said.
For more information on the clinic and the services they provide, head to ClinicaTepeyac.org.