Florence volunteers partner with Las Vegas company to expand COVID testing for underserved

Pee Dee

FLORENCE, S.C. (WBTW) — A company out of Las Vegas is working with several local groups to get COVID testing opportunities to homeless and underserved populations in Florence.

Experts with DNA Analytical, which is supplying the tests and PPE, held a training session Monday night for volunteers looking to get involved.

“They normally charge for testing, but they want to come here and do it free because they realize we need help,” Florence city council member Pat Gibson-Hye Moore said. “A lot of people don’t get tested because- okay, you’re hungry, you’re going to worry about where you’re going to eat today or where you’re going to sleep tonight more than worrying about COVID testing.”

DNA Analytical has served big Hollywood clients through the pandemic, but the company said it wants to reach others in need.

“I felt like the underserved, the people who are less fortunate wasn’t getting served in their community,” VP of the company Marcus Peterson said. “We tried to find a way, we were going to test people, ones that wasn’t going to the local hospitals or people forgot about. That didn’t have insurance.”

That’s what they’re bringing to Florence. A series of locations are being eyed for potential testing sites, including Timrod Park, Levi Park, the old motel site on East Palmetto Street, the House of Hope and the Colonial Inn on Irby Street.

Volunteers of many backgrounds came to the training, including nurses. Several groups were represented like the House of Hope, East Florence Community Organization, Hearts for the Homeless, the Pentecostal Temple and My Brother’s Keeper.

“I think people feel more trusting if they see someone they know,” Gibson-Hye Moore said. “They know we’re not going to hurt them we’re going to help them.”

Mack Myers Jr. is a case manager at the Courtney McGinnis Community Shelter and says the program will be a big help.

“It’s going to help us tremendously,” he said. “There are a lot of homeless people that don’t know they have COVID, so this is going to help that.”

An exact timeline is still being worked out, but the group is waiting for all the supplies to come in. The testing will hopefully begin within the next few weeks.

DNA Analytics was able to secure CARES Act funding for this program. It’s not costing the city money. Testing will be free for people who are uninsured.

Volunteers are still needed. There are ways you can help whether or not you have a medical background. Contact Parish Brown at 757 332 4000 or peebrown@gmail.com if you want to help the cause.

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