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Free COVID-19 testing for Huntsville's homeless

To make sure people being tested get their results back, medical staff are working with groups who serve the homeless in Huntsville.

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — People in Huntsville came out to the Rose of Sharon to grab some food, get a pair of socks, and be tested for COVID-19.

Russ Timothy with Thrive Alabama said, "If there was a presence of COVID-19 in the homeless population, having a reactive test might help quelch it down before it kind of builds and explodes."

All the tests being done are completely free.

"They're concerned people as well, and they have fears. We just really try to help them with those fears and keep them as educated as possible," said Registered Nurse with Huntsville Hospital, Joyce Thomas.

Nurses with Thrive and Huntsville Hospital have already given dozens of tests to people who are homeless. To make sure they get their test results back, medical staff are working with groups who serve Huntsville's homeless.

"For each person that's getting tested, we're writing their name down on a piece of paper and having them take a picture," said Timothy. "That way we'll have that, and we'll provide it to First Stop in order for them to be able to get the results back that way."

The Rose of Sharon says having a testing site in their parking lot makes it much easier for people in the area to be tested.

Megan Letson with the Rose of Sharon said, "I think it really helps that they've come to a location where you would normally see the homeless community, the under served community. They don't always have transportation to go down to a certain site."

The North Alabama Coalition for the Homeless (NACH) says they're working on a quarantine plan for if some of the tests come back positive.

NACH President Violet Edwards said, "The barrier has been trying to find a hotel to partner with us. We will pay, but we need to find a place where we can quarantine our clients until they can get healthy so that it does not spread throughout the community."

NACH can be reached at 256-261-3029. For more information, click here.

The City of Huntsville does not have specific accommodations for COVID-positive individuals in the homeless community right now. They say should the need occur, the City will work to match appropriate quarantine options with the needs of the individual.

The Rose of Sharon is always taking up food donations. Non-perishable food items can be dropped off at their building located at 723 Arcadia Circle in Huntsville.

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