Johnston church partners with RI National Guard to bring rapid COVID-19 testing to community

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JOHNSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — A Johnston church is helping in the fight against COVID-19, opening its doors up to become a rapid test site.

Iglesia Pentecostes on Plainfield Street partnered with the Rhode Island National Guard over a month ago to help ensure tests for high density neighborhoods.

“Johnston is in the middle of Rhode Island, we have a lot of city around Cranston, Providence and I’m glad to have this facility open for them,” Rev. Miguel Berroa said.

“Our goal is to bring testing to communities, we are calling them high density communities. We are up to 40 sites in about nine different communities all the way from Woonsocket to Newport,” Lieutenant Col. Brendan Carroll said.

It’s a simple process; cars line up in the parking lot and then people go in one at a time to get a BinaxNOW rapid COVID-19 test. The test is free and no appointment is needed.

“They register, they go through and get a rapid card. They go to the next table where the med techs are. They get swabbed. They are in an out from registration time to swabbing less than five minutes,” Sgt. 1st Class Christina Thomas said.

People then exit through a different door and receive their results via text message within an hour.

Lorena Ramirez got tested on Saturday and can confirm that the process is easy.

“It is close. It is fast. It is good for Spanish people, you know Spanish speaking. That’s convenient and there is no cost,” she said.

The Plainfield Street site is open 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays and tests around 150 people in that time.

The Rhode Island National Guard is encouraging community leaders who have facilities in populated areas to reach out to them to set up more testing sites.

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