October 4, 2020
One of many COVID-19 tests taking place at the Consulate of Mexico in Houston. [Credit: Marlene Guzman]
(HOUSTON) — As Houston slowly reaches its goal of a 5% positivity rate of coronavirus cases, local authorities and community leaders are worried about the numbers of new positive cases and reported deaths within the Hispanic community.
On October 1, there were 300 additional cases according to the Houston Health Department,, bringing the city’s total to 73,587.
There were also 12 newly reported deaths, for a total of 1,113 people dying with the virus. Four of which were Hispanic.
As the health department rolls out its weekly coronavirus testing sites, the Consulate General of Mexico is providing free COVID-19 testing to Houstonians, with special outreach to the Hispanic community.
The consulate wants to provide a space safe for its compatriots and any immigrant in Houston, Consul Alica Kerber-Palma said. An example of that is its “Ventanilla de Salud” , or ‘health window,’ a year-long effort to bring health-related events, resources, and information to the community.
Between June and September, the consulate has provided free testing during at least four week-long events.
It recognizes the demand for testing and can see that the virus is still prevalent in Houston.. Of the 500 tests conducted during the first event, 20% came out positive. Ninety percent of those who tested positive were Hispanic. With rates so high, the consulate says it is willing to do whatever it can to help.
“During our second event, there was one day we extended our hours from 9am to 9pm to provide 2,000 tests.” Consul Kerber-Palma adds.
The consulate assures people who get tested that they will not disclose the names of those who test positive.
Since most testing sites are held at official government buildings, Consul Kerber-Palma is concerned that people might be afraid to be tested for the virus.
“They will not be asked about their immigration status and [the tests] are completely free.” she says.
The Consulate of Mexico in Houston, located at 4506 Caroline St, will continue to provide COVID-19 testing on Monday through Friday throughout October from 9am to 3pm.
Residents seeking a test must present some form of identification and provide a phone number or email address to receive test results within 72 hours.
Kerber-Palma says the consul is committed to helping Houstonians through the pandemic.
“And when the vaccine is ready, we’ll work to provide that as well.”