FORT PIERCE, Fla. — A Fort Pierce City Commissioner says he is spearheading an effort to bring COVID-19 testing closer to Fort Pierce residents in the Northwest section of the city.
“[That] is where a lot of the deaths are occurring in terms of the African American community,” said Commissioner Reggie Sessions.
Sessions fears the African American community has a higher chance of experiencing more serious health issues if they contract the virus. “On top of health issues such as being a diabetic, having high blood pressure, hypertension, things of that nature, which is a disease that a lot of African Americans have, it’s taking people out and they’re getting really sick from it,” Sessions said.
Sessions said he has teamed up with Allied Health to do drive-thru testing at Dreamland Park for residents.
People wanting a test will have to call a number to be screened, and if they meet the criteria for a COVID-19 test, they will be given an appointment time to go through the Dreamland Park drive-thru.
“If you’re not feeling well, if your baby’s not feeling well, you see the symptoms... it’s just a matter of coming in and getting tested,” Sessions said.
More access to testing is something being discussed even at the state level by Governor Ron DeSantis.
In a news conference Wednesday, DeSantis said, “I do think there’s an issue of not everyone has a car to be able to go to a drive-thru site, so maybe doing a walk-up testing in some of the underserved communities would be better.”
Sessions said people can arrange to have walk-up testing and he is looking into other possible transportation options.
Sessions also said first responders in St. Lucie County and Fort Pierce can get a test without having to set up an appointment. He anticipates Allied Health will be able to process about 500 tests.
“We’ve got to do all we can to stop the spread of this disease,” Sessions said.
Residents can begin calling immediately for screening at 772-940-1020.
Appointments will be made April 18, 20, and 21 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.