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Knights host COVID-19 testing

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The Knights of Columbus Mount Vernon Council 5998 hosted a COVID-19 testing clinic for more than 250 Alexandria residents Aug. 1. The council, in collaboration with the Hispanic Ministry of Good Shepherd Church in Alexandria and Fairfax County Health Department, provided the targeted community testing to increase resources for an area identified as higher risk of spread, according to Sharon Arndt, director of Community Health Development for the Fairfax County Health Department.

From 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., participants filed into Mount Vernon Columbus Club in Alexandria and were met by “greeters,” who escorted them to their testing station. Participants with symptoms of COVID-19 received their results on-site, while those without symptoms received their results a few days later. The entire process took less than 15 minutes.

In addition to the testing, participants were provided guidance on accessing food, housing and other socioeconomic needs.

Debbie Grim, who came to the clinic for testing, thanked the Knights of Columbus for offering their facility for the health department’s testing. “I was very pleased how well run and professional they were,” she said. “And the location was very convenient. After the testing, they took the time to talk to me regarding precautions of COVID-19.”

“The success of public health is dependent upon what we do together as a community, and we are so thankful for our community leaders like Good Shepherd Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus for providing us this important connection to a neighborhood at higher risk for COVID-19 spread,” said Arndt.

When the Fairfax health department first approached Grand Knight Maurice Chau, he embraced the idea of hosting the event. He worked with the president of the Mount Vernon Columbus Club, Past Grand Knight Mike Murphy to use the facility, and gained the support of fellow Knights.

“It was an honor to work with the Fairfax County Health Department and serve our community,” Chau said.

After the testing, the building underwent a thorough cleaning. While the council does not have additional testing planned, they would consider hosting again if asked, said District Deputy Joe Tiago.

“As members of the Knights of Columbus, we’re called to serve our neighbors, particularly in times when needs are more pressing like it is in this pandemic,” he said. “Uniting with health professionals to provide valuable service to our community is in line with our principles of charity and unity.”


© Arlington Catholic Herald 2020