State senator pushes for more testing sites in minority communities


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) — As the state continues to work through the pandemic, state leaders are focusing on more testing sites.

This past week Arkansas had a new record high for the amount of COVID-19 cases. As the state tries to work and flatten the curve, state leaders are focusing on HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and other minority groups in the state.

“There’s a disproportion number of individuals have been affected and the only way you know you’re affected is if you’re tested,” Senator Linda Chesterfield said.

Senator Linda Chesterfield along with state representatives said they have been pushing for testing places in minority communities.

Saturday they partnered with the Arkansas Department of Health and UAMS to host an HBCU testing site at Arkansas Baptist.

“So many of these young people come from places that are not in Little Rock and so it’s imperative that they be tested so that they know, and we know that it is safe for them to open schools,” Chesterfield said.

This event is just the first of three for HBCUs. Anyone can get tested whether they have symptoms or not.

Meanwhile Arkansas Dept. of Health Central Region Director, Dr. Neldia Dycus offers some advice for everyone moving forward.

“Wear your masks,” Dycus said. “keep a social distance, keep your hands clean, wash your hands, treat others as if you’re infected.”

Dycus words along with Governor Asa Hutchinson Friday. He urged Arkansans to follow public health guidelines this weekend. He said 900 cases is too high and we need to reduce to make progress.

“If you don’t have to go out, stay home,” Dycus said.

More than 130 people came out to get test. Chesterfield said it’s important for everyone to know their status so they can know how to protest themselves and their loved ones.

“I’m so proud to see members of the African American community, the white community and the Hispanic community coming out today to say it matters to us,” Chesterfield said.

The next event is at Philander Smith College in August 8th from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. (900 W. Daisy L. Gaston Bates Dr. Little Rock, AR 72202)

There’s also a testing site set on August 8th at Shorter College from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (604 N. Locust St. North Little Rock 72114)

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