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Beyoncé’s foundation helps provide free COVID-19 testing in her hometown

HOUSTON – COVID-19 testing sites across the Houston area have brought out the masses.

Cars sat in lines for hours outside United Memorial Medical Center off W. Tidwell. It was a similar scenario downtown at St. John’s United Methodist Church on Crawford St. Those are the lines health officials want to see rather than ones waiting for ICU beds.

“In order to stem the tide of this epidemic we have to know who is infected to get those people tested and get those around them tested so we can decrease the spread of the virus in our community,” said Dr. Joseph Gathe, an infectious disease specialist.

Dr. Joseph Gathe and his wife, Dr. Deanna Breaux Gathe, are with the Cure COVID-19 Consortium partnered with Beyoncé‘s Bey Good Foundation, Start Small, Bread of Life and COVID-19 Connects to bring the downtown mobile testing to the community free of charge.

“This an incredible effort. It’s a community effort. It’s a Houston effort and we are really proud of Beyoncé and her support as a wonderful humanitarian,” said Robin Owens, with COVID-19 Connects.

Five-hundred people received tests at the site, including Cynthia Smith, who fears she has COVID-19.

“The first test I took in April. I was ok. It came back negative,” Smith said through tears. “Now I’m back. I think I got it. And now I’m back in line for testing.”

Several parked cars down sat Jamie Baldwin who said she had no symptoms. The millennial said she came out for a test for peace of mind.

“I have a family member that was possibly exposed and so I just want to make sure for myself,” said Baldwin.

The Gathe’s said it’s encouraging to see young people and people of color lining up. They want to see that trend spike upward.

“We’re making the focus in communities that don’t have access to testing such as this,” said Dr. Joseph Gathe. “We know in our community there’s a disproportionate percentage of people with COVID-19 in our communities of color.”

Those tested on Tuesday can expect to receive their results in 7-14 days.