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There were 748 people tested for COVID-19 on Friday and Saturday at Asbury United Methodist Church in Charles Town.

The results of the free coronavirus tests that 748 people in Jefferson County received last weekend were still pending Tuesday.

Those who participated had nose swab samples taken for analysis at a drive-through testing station set up at Asbury United Methodist Church in Charles Town.

People who were tested should learn about their results this week, said Bill Crouch, secretary of the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources (DHHR).

The free lab tests were part of a state health department initiative to increase the availability of COVID-19 assessments for minorities, the elderly and low-income residents.

Statistics collected during the pandemic show that minorities and the elderly have been more widely and severely affected by the virus outbreak. However, during this weekend’s initiative anyone who showed up to request a test received one.

More than 1,600 other people obtained free tests in Berkeley, Mercer and Raleigh counties.

About one-third of those tested last weekend in Mercer and Raleigh counties were African Americans, said Bill Crouch, DHHR secretary. No figures for minorities test in Jefferson were available early this week.

African-Americans make up about 3.4 percent of the state’s overall residents. They’re about 7.8 percent of Jefferson’s population.

More free testing for vulnerable populations is planned this week and next for other counties across the state. A statewide COVID-19 Advisory Commission on African American Disparities, which includes state Sen. Patricia Rucker (R-Jefferson) as a member, is also evaluating how to increase testing and medical service to minorities.  

“Our turnout, we think, was very good,” Crouch said of the weekend’s outreach. “But we’re going to try to do better with that.” 

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