State health officials have announced more free testing in Kanawha, Berkeley, Jefferson, Morgan and Mineral counties this weekend, through the state health department, local agencies and the West Virginia National Guard.
That’s in addition to testing already happening in Fayette County, Tuesday through Thursday, and an event in Belle, Kanawha County on Wednesday.
They'll be at the Mount Hope Fire Department Tuesday from noon to 2 p.m.
From Friday to Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the West Virginia National Guard help offer free testing at the Musselman High School in Berkeley County, the Hollywood Casino in Jefferson County and the Warm Springs Middle School in Morgan County.
In Kanawha County, there will be free testing at the Shawnee Sports Complex in Dunbar on both Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Through the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department, free testing also will be available at DuPont Middle School in Belle on Wednesday, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Tests are free and no insurance information or proof of symptoms is required. Proof of residency or identification is required.
Data shows the coronavirus disproportionately impacts minority communities. In West Virginia, roughly 7 percent of the state’s positive cases are African American, when only 4 percent of the state’s population is black.
According to the Department of Health and Human Resources, a little more than 10 percent of the state’s positive cases are from other minority groups. The DHHR has provided no further breakdown.
This will be the West Virginia National Guard’s third weekend out, facilitating free walk up and drive through testing to counties with high population densities and minority populations. After testing Berkeley, Jefferson, Mercer and Raleigh Counties earlier in May, Dr. Cathy Slemp from the state Bureau for Public Health reported Tuesday the state had tested 2,385 people over one weekend, between 18 and 41 percent of which were from black West Virginians.
CORRECTION: This article was updated at 8 a.m on Thursday, May 28. An earlier version of the article stated the West Virginia National Guard was involved in free testing efforts in Fayette County. The Guard is only helping support efforts in Kanawha, Mineral, Morgan, Berkeley and Jefferson counties over the weekend.
Emily Allen is a Report for America corps member.