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Team effort makes free COVID-19 testing site in southwest Little Rock a success

Three hours into the four-hour screening, over 100 patients had already been through the triage unit at the Southwest Community Center.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — UAMS, the City of Little Rock and the Consulate of Mexico in Little Rock came together on Saturday to host a COVID-19 mobile testing site at the Southwest Community Center. 

The drive-thru testing officially started at 10 a.m., but by 9:30 a.m. Dr. Jennifer Hunt, chair of the UAMS Department of Pathology and director of the UAMS Triage Unit, said cars were already lined up with patients ready to get tested. 

"We love to see a long line of cars when we start, the worst thing to have is nobody here," she said. 

Car after car rolled up on Saturday to the Southwest Community Center in Little Rock for the free COVID-19 drive-thru evaluation. 

Hunt said these mobile testing sites are vital for rural communities and people who don't have transportation. 

"We do recognize that there are areas of the city where people might not be able to as easily come downtown to our central site, so we wanted to be right here in the community, as well," she said. 

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UAMS health care professionals have been all across the state with their mobile testing sites, but this is the first one outside of the main campus in the capital city, according to Hunt. 

Rodolfo Quilantán, the Consul of Mexico for Little Rock, said it's another way to help out "the most vulnerable people."

He said two weeks ago UAMS proposed this drive-thru to the Consulate of Mexico, so they partnered with the City of Little Rock to have it off Baseline Road.

According to Quilantán, the location, paired with the team efforts, enabled more people in his community to have confidence to go and get tested.

"We know that many of them are scared, many of them don't want to come to take these kind of medical examinations," he said. 

Three hours into the four-hour screening, over one hundred patients had already been through the triage unit. 

Dr. Hunt said the number of screenings at each mobile site has ranged greatly, depending on the size of the community. 

"We've been in really small towns where we've screened 70 people and we've been in towns where we've screened almost 200," she said. 

No matter the number, Quilantán said Saturday's evaluations proved we are better together. 

"I think this is another way to show and to put in evidence that if we work together, we can attain everything," he said. 

Dr. Hunt said there's no schedule for these mobile drive-thru testings. They just go where there's a hot spot or if the community calls. 

Reminder: online screening is available here and phone screening is available through the UAMS Health hotline at 800-632-4502.

RELATED: Real-time updates: Arkansas coronavirus deaths rises to 73

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