Mobile COVID testing comes to Allentown to serve vulnerable communities

Written by on September 18, 2020

 Mobile COVID testing comes to Allentown to serve vulnerable communities

By Ben Stemrich

September 18, 2020

Photo | Ben Stemrich / WLVR

CATE was in the Lehigh Valley this week. That stands for Community Accessible Testing and Education. It’s a mobile COVID testing and outreach center funded by the state that made a stop in Allentown.

CATE is run by The Harrisburg-based organization Latino Connection, The Pennsylvania Department of Health gives them nose swab tests to use. Alycia Watly is with Star Wellness in the Lehigh Valley which helped coordinate the effort.

“The majority of people coming out are worried, one way or another they feel like they’ve been exposed or in a high need or high-risk position. A lot of them are anxious about the testing procedure itself,” said Watly.

CATE travels to low income communities to help provide free COVID testing, with services in English and Spanish. According to the CDC, Hispanic or Latino persons are four times more likely to be hospitalized from COVID-19.

“What we found is that there is a higher morbidity and mortality in patients that reflect different ethnic and cultural backgrounds and stereotypes. So to be able to encourage them that this is a safe, culturally competent, friendly environment, that there’s going to be someone to reassure them and calm them down in their own language, that is going to make them feel comfortable.”

Health officials say they tested somewhere around 75 people during CATE’s two day stop in Allentown. 

Officials plan to announce dates for CATE’s return to the Lehigh Valley soon. 

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