Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today announced a unique partnership with Latino Connection, Highmark Blue Shield and the Independence Blue Cross Foundation to create the first-in-the-nation COVID-19 Mobile Response Unit to provide testing and education targeting minority and underserved communities throughout Pennsylvania.
“We share a unified purpose of building healthy communities through access to care and education to create a healthy Pennsylvania for all,” Levine said. “This partnership will help ensure Pennsylvanians, no matter where they live or what language they speak, will have access to COVID-19 testing. It also furthers the Wolf administration’s commitment to creating pathways to health equity for anyone living in the commonwealth.”
In total, this testing effort costed $498,000. The department Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity Enhancing Detection fund contributed a $331,000 grant. In addition, specimens will be collected and taken to the Pennsylvania Bureau of Laboratories for testing after each event.
Known as CATE, Community-Accessible Testing & Education, the unit is equipped to conduct COVID-19 testing on-site through a mobile RV vehicle while also educating the public on how to stay healthy and safe. The mobile response unit’s tagline is “Sharing knowledge to erase fear,” which it intends to do through widespread community healthcare and health education offered with no insurance required.
CATE’s tour stops include Bucks, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton and Philadelphia counties.
Those interested in visiting CATE can find the tour stop schedule listed on the website at www.CATEmobileunit.com
or on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/catemobileunit/
Services are available on a first come, first serve basis. Social distancing and masking guidelines and will be followed at all times. While each tour stop provider’s policies are different, most providers, if not short on testing supplies, will test anyone who believes they’ve been exposed to COVID. Other providers may only test those who are experiencing symptoms. Questions about specific CATE stops can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.