County sends free COVID-19 test kits, masks to Black churches

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– The San Bernardino County Public Health Department on Friday (Dec. 17) delivered more than 1,000 over-the-counter COVID-19 testing kits and face masks to Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (C.O.P.E.), a nonprofit faith-based organization of Black churches in the county.

“Our County is among the first in California to provide these over-the-counter tests to our nonprofits,” said San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors Chairman Curt Hagman. “We are leading the way on COVID-19 response by working with trusted community organizations to provide tests kits and masks to keep our communities safe and healthy.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, the County has worked in partnership with C.O.P.E. to get people tested and vaccinated, Hagman said.

C.O.P.E.’s mission is to train and develop the capacity of religious and lay leaders in congregations across the Inland Empire to protect and revitalize the communities in which they live, work, and worship.

“On behalf of Congregations Organized for Prophetic Engagement (C.O.P.E.), and Inland Empire Concerned African American Churches (IECAAC), we want to thank Supervisor Curt Hagman, as well as the San Bernardino County Department of Public Health for always being great partners,” said C.O.P.E. Executive Director Pastor Samuel Casey. “This is another layer of great partnership in stemming the tide of the pandemic as we see a rise in COVID cases. These take-home kits are a great resource for the community, especially for those who distrust the testing and vaccination process. This partnership is a positive and powerful way to end 2021.”

Friday’s delivery of testing kits and masks to C.O.P.E. was the first group of free supplies that will go out to eligible nonprofit organizations. Non-profit organizations can request an allocation of COVID-19 tests by submitting a request form here. Test kits will be available for distribution starting the week of Dec. 20.

Rapid antigen tests provide results in as little as 10 minutes. Individuals 14 or older can perform the test directly. Adults can help perform the test for children aged 2 or older. The test can be used for individuals with or without symptoms. People who get a positive test result, should self-isolate at home and avoid contact with others and follow care instructions from their healthcare provider.

“Testing continues to be a priority in San Bernardino County and providing COVID testing resources to our non-profit organizations is another way we can mitigate COVID-19 transmission in our community,” said Public Health Director Josh Dugas. “As we enter the holiday season, we want to ensure that travelers have access to fast, reliable, and easy-to-use COVID testing and be able to provide documentation of their results.”

To learn more about the On/Go rapid antigen kit, call the Public Health COVID-19 Testing Program Coordinator at (909) 501-8285.

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