Governor Newsom announces free COVID-19 testing site to open in East Bakersfield

April 22, 2020 /

Kern County Board of Supervisors Chair, Supervisor Leticia Perez in coordination with Governor Gavin Newsom, announced a new Verily COVID-19 community-based testing site will open in East Bakersfield.

The testing center will be located at the Richard Prado Senior Center.

The test site will focus on providing free tests to underserved communities as well as communities of color, who in the past have had limited access to testing and are disproportionately affected by COVID-19, says a news release.

“As we know, communities of color are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 at an alarming rate,” Perez said in a press release. “There is an inequitable amount of testing and treatment being done in these communities and the data show us that there is an increasingly higher death rate for African American and Latino patients suffering from this virus.”

Data released by the California Department of Public Health shows Whites and Asians are underrepresented in the number of COVID-19 deaths compared to their population numbers, while Latinos and Black Californians in particular are dying at disproportionately high rates.

The latest information released by the California Department of Public Health shows disproportionate numbers for the African American population. Although the African American population makes up six percent of the state’s population, it makes up 12 percent of California’s COVID-19-related deaths.

Over the next week, Perez’s office, along with the Governor’s office and organizations such as Community Organized Relief Effort, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Verily, will be setting up the test site and will begin taking  appointments using Verily’s online appointment system.