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UAMS research shows 55% of Arkansans prefer drive-thru testing sites

"The research was important because many minority populations and rural populations do not access COVID-19 testing at the same rate as the general population."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark — UAMS released research that showed preferred testing location sites for people that got tested for COVID-19 in Arkansas.

The research was conducted from October 2020 to January 2021. UAMS Chancellor Pearl McElfish serves as the Principal Investigative Researcher for the study and said she understands that COVID-19 testing and vaccines may not be as available for some populations. 

"The research was important because many minority populations and rural populations do not access COVID-19 testing at the same rate as the general population," McElfish said. 

Fifty-five percent of participants preferred drive-thru clinics for COVID-19 testing while the remaining percentage of the group preferred regular clinics and drive-thru locations that resided in neighborhoods.

The research found striking differences across race and ethnicity. Hispanics listed community-based organizations as a preferred testing location almost as often as drive-thru clinics and generalized clinics. 

African Americans preferred testing locations at church and faith-based organizations more often than other racial and ethnic groups.

McElfish said they want to make COVID-19 testing available for all communities. 

"There are health department sites and federally qualified health center sites across the state that have really made COVID-19 testing available in rural communities," she said.

The research noted that access to testing has differed across sociodemographic indicators. The study also noted the difference in accessibility in rural areas and lower income areas, while mentioning that areas with more minority residents having lower testing rates. 

Marie Mitchell knows all too well about the disparities. 

She tried to organize a vaccine clinic at a local church in Southwest Little Rock in April. Only 66 people attended.

She said facts need to somehow combat fear if we're going to see away with the pandemic.

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