A nonprofit in Washington County is getting funding to boost free mobile COVID-19 testing.
In a press release on Friday, Oct. 2, Bank of America announced a $100,000 grant for the Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center. This grant, along with a donation of 10,000 medical masks, will enable Virginia Garcia to scale up its mobile COVID-19 testing capabilities while keeping patients and providers safe.
According to the announcement, the grant is also part of Bank of America's goal to donate $1 billion over four years to advance racial equality and economic opportunity.
"We must all work together as one global community to address not only the current healthcare crisis, but also the underlying economic and social disparities that have accelerated and intensified during the pandemic," said Roger Hinshaw, Oregon and Southwest Washington market president for Bank of America. "Our partnership with Virginia Garcia, a trusted member of the community, tackles these two important issues. They are providing critical healthcare access that can slow the spread of the virus, while also targeting underserved groups who find themselves disproportionately at risk physically and economically."
The bank hopes that this partnership will also improve the distribution of language and culture-specific information regarding the coronavirus pandemic, including education about symptoms, reducing spread of the disease and treatment options.
"Virginia Garcia Memorial Health Center was born from adversity, and we are rising to this occasion much like we did in 1975," said Serena Cruz, executive director of the Virginia Garcia Memorial Foundation.
Since the mid-1970s, Virginia Garcia has served patients in Washington and Yamhill counties. It has grown from a grassroots volunteer-run clinic into a full-service health provider that employs nearly 600 people across 17 clinics.
Virginia Garcia provides medical, dental, pharmaceutical and mental health services to more than 52,000 patients every year, according to the statement. Of those patients, about 98% are low-income, 22% are uninsured, 40% are children, 54% are Hispanic/Latino, and nearly half are immigrants or refugees.
These populations are some of the most at risk for contracting COVID-19.
"We are providing critical healthcare in the midst of this crisis, innovating in our response by expanding testing availability through the use of our mobile clinic and standing on the front line as essential workers," said Cruz. "We are able to respond to community needs during this unprecedented time, thanks in part to the generosity and support of organizations like Bank of America."
So far this year, Bank of America says it has provided $1.8 million in funding across Oregon and Southwest Washington in response to the coronavirus.
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