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Mile Square Health Center (MSHC), a network of Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) run by the University of Illinois Hospital (UIH) in Chicago, established Drive-Thru and Walk-Up COVID-19 testing sites. The primary aim of the UIH/MSHC testing project was to increase testing capacity in the most affected, racial/ethnic minority communities. More than 7,500 tests were performed over a six-month period. Half of those who were tested were Black and Latinx residents. The majority of those tested at the Walk-Up sites were Black, while “Other” race group tended to get tested in Drive Thru testing sites. Latinx residents had the highest positivity rate, followed by Other race group. Younger age groups were more likely to have higher positivity rates. Overall, UH/MSHC testing results reflected the overall Chicago COVID-19 testing results. Our findings substantiate the need to advocate for equitable resource allocation to counter the disproportionate burden of COVID-19 infection among minority communities. FQHCs were shown to be an effective approach to reduce structural barriers to COVID-19 testing and subsequently reduce disparities. Going forward, FQHCs can be key to ensuring COVID-19 vaccine outreach and dissemination.
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