Posted July 13, 2020
On Sat, July 11th Ottawa ACORN helped organize the city’s very first mobile testing clinic for COVID19. ACORN members in Ottawa-Vanier met virtually back at the end of May and members identified having difficulty accessing testing because of a number of barriers.
ACORN members - who are often low wage workers, people with disabilities, seniors, newcomers and people who are otherwise immunocompromised- face barriers to traditional testing centre approaches such as fear of public transit, having to take multiple buses on unreliable transit, language barriers/lack of internet access to stay informed and not being able to afford taxi fare . So mobile testing brings testing right to them!
After members’ first meeting, they organized a phone action to call Public Health, the Mayor and City Councillors to get a mobile testing site for Ottawa-Vanier. We didn’t get much of a response at the time so our members took matters into their own hands and connected with Ottawa Innercity Health, the Ottawa Hospital and Sandy Hill Community Health Centre to partner on our own event!
In the lead up to the event ACORN delivered over 1,500 flyers in English, French, Arabic and Somali to the surrounding neighbourhood, made hundreds of phone calls to our members and contacts in the neighbourhood and promoted the day on social media.
The day of the event, 119 adults and children were able to get tested at 4 different stations out of a medical van, paramedic bus and testing booth. The Mission supplied everyone with hot food and folks stopped by the ACORN booth where we handed out free masks and hand sanitizer supplied by the Ottawa Hospital and grew our Ottawa-Vanier supporters list! ACORN members were joined by Mayor Jim Watson, Dr Vera Etches, Councillor Keith Egli, the Chair on the Health Board, and Councillors Tim Tierney and Rawlson King.
Thanks to our partners: the Ottawa Hospital, Sandy Hill Community Health Centre, CHEO, Ottawa Innercity Health and the Paramedic Services
What’s Next? Sign/share the supporters list if you support mobile testing, a permanent assessment centre in the East End and want to be kept updated on next steps:
CBC Ottawa Morning: Mobile clinic brings COVID-19 testing to residents in Vanier and Overbrook