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New free COVID-19 testing site to offer bilingual, Spanish-language assistance

Starting Tuesday, weekly free drive-up nasal swab COVID testing will be offered in the parking lot shared by Lashley Street Station and Clark Centennial Park.
Vehicles line up at the free COVID testing site at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont on Wednesday. (Photo by Macie May)

A COVID-19 testing site with bilingual staff will open next week at Lashley Street Station. 

Starting Tuesday, weekly free drive-up nasal swab COVID testing will be offered in the parking lot shared by Lashley Street Station and Clark Centennial Park, 1200 Lashley St., according to a Facebook post.

The free testing site joins others in Longmont, including the Boulder County Fairgrounds and the St. Vrain Valley School District Innovation Center. Boulder County encourages registering in advance of visiting those sites. Learn more here.

Bilingual staff will be at the testing site to register individuals and answer questions from 3 to 6 p.m. Tuesdays through Dec. 29, according to Carmen Palacios-Ramirez, community and neighborhood resources manager at the city. 

This testing site seeks to focus on outreach for the Spanish-speaking Latino community, Palacios-Ramirez said. 

“(It’s) a site where people can feel safe and comfortable and speak Spanish, their native language,” she said, adding bilingual staff can walk community members through the testing process and refer them to resources if needed.

If people are concerned about other needs, such as where to go get food or assistance for utility bills, staff also can provide information on accessing those resources, Ramirez said.

“Based on numbers that the public health department has given us, we know there is an  increase in cases within the Latino community,” she said. “We’re hoping that by establishing a weekly site and focusing on our Latino community we can get those numbers down.”

As of Monday, more than 35% of Boulder County residents who tested positive or are considered probable for COVID-19 identified themselves as Hispanic or Latinx, and Hispanic or Latinx individuals comprised over 43% of COVID-related hospitalizations in the county, according to Boulder County Public Health data

Palacios-Ramirez said the virus is spreading quickly in social gatherings, community settings, and in households shared by two or more families, and community members should be mindful of the risk of transmission.

“We know that when the holidays come around we want to travel and to gather, not just with immediate family but with extended family and friends,” she said. “This is not the time to gather, it’s time to stay home and only go out for essentials, work or groceries.”

Anyone who thinks they might have been exposed to COVID-19 can get tested even if they do not show symptoms, and test results will be ready within 72 hours, according to the flyer for the testing site. Individuals who get tested will receive a bag with free items for self care.

Palacios-Ramirez said appointments are not needed and people being tested will not be required to show any kind of identification.

“(We want) to reassure the community that this is a safe place to come to,” she said.

“We are concerned about the health of our community and the Latino community is a part of it. We cannot have one sector of our community not doing well and think it will not impact us all.”

Silvia Romero Solís

About the Author: Silvia Romero Solís

Después de viajar por el mundo, Silvia llegó a establecerse en Longmont. Ella busca usar su experiencia en comunicaciones y cultura para crear más equidad y diversidad en las noticias de Longmont.
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