Almost 400 tested at community COVID-19 event

Story by Lana Sweeten-Shults
Photos by David Kadlubowski

GCU News Bureau

Almost 400 people in more than 180 vehicles made their way through the free community COVID-19 testing event Saturday at Grand Canyon University’s 27th Avenue complex.

The drive-thru clinic was part of the Arizona Testing Blitz, a series of COVID-19 testing events at underserved communities.

“It went really well,” said University Emergency Preparedness Manager Marcus Castle, who helped facilitate the event, organized by a coalition that includes Chicanos por La Causa, Equality Health Foundation, the Arizona Department of Health Services, Adelante Healthcare, Sonora Quest Labs and Equality Care Center.

“Our first person was there at 3:30 in the morning,” said Victoria Murray, a registered nurse and Director of Home Health & Senior Services for Chicanos por la Causa. “They tried in the past but couldn’t get tested. By 5:45 a.m., we had about six cars, so we opened early.”

Wait times never exceeded 5-7 minutes, said Murray.

This was the first time GCU has partnered with some of the organizations in the coalition in such a deep way.

Not only did GCU help the community it calls home – Maryvale is one of the areas struck hard by COVID-19 -- but the event helped GCU, too.

“For Connie (Colbert, Director of the Canyon Health and Wellness Clinic at GCU) and me, we’re looking at how we can do a drive-thru flu clinic for employees in the future, so it really helped us kind of learn what they had out there. To talk about it is one thing, but to actually see how it looked like was a help for us as well."

The event also strengthened GCU’s connections to these organizations.

“It’s formalizing new partnerships for some community partners and enhancing partnerships we already have,” Castle said, adding, “We’re looking forward to future events.”

Murray said, “We love the relationship with GCU, and everyone has been phenomenal. Our cause is to reach out to the community, and I know GCU’s desire to provide for the underserved matches ours.”

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