Hundreds get COVID-19 testing at SHA developments
Five Springfield Housing Authority developments have now hosted COVID-19 testing, in a solidly successful collaboration among the authority, Baystate Health, the Massachusetts Stop the Spread program and TD Bank.
A total 398 people – SHA residents and staff, along with the general public – have received testing for the pandemic virus under the program, with more to come. The testing has been done at Forest Park Manor, Moxon Apartments, Reed Village, Riverview Apartments and Saab Court.
SHA Executive Director Denise R. Jordan said the program will continue as long as the virus continues to threaten people in the community and around the world. A second wave of COVID-19 is currently happening.
“We’re happy to be able to provide this service to anyone who wants to avail themselves and find out if they are free of this virus,” Jordan said. “The partnership with Baystate, Stop the Spread and TD Bank is proving popular and successful, bringing the testing right out to those who live and work here.”
Jordan added, “We must remember that one test doesn’t guarantee that anyone will be free of the virus permanently. Taking more than one test is a good thing.”
Jordan visited each testing site, handing out New England Patriots sweatshirts courtesy of Josh Kraft of the Patriots Foundation.
At Reed Village, District B Assistant Property Manager Alibra Wilson and Program Clerk Jazz Marie Torres oversaw the outdoors testing site, reaching out to staff and residents at the development in the Bay neighborhood to take advantage of the service.
“Getting tested for COVID-19, is very important to do, someone’s life depends on your status,” Wilson said. “It’s our responsibility to be the change and to stop the spread, so we can protect our family, friends, coworkers and communities.
“As the infection rates continue to rise in the country, it’s vital that we do our part; to properly wear a face covering, wash our hands, disinfect common touch points and socially distance ourselves from others not residing in the same home,” she added.
Residents, staff members and others continued to pour into the afternoon testing event.
Robinson Gardens Apartments resident Jenaisha Scott got her test at Reed, saying she wants to be sure she is healthy and free of the virus.
“I want to be safe,” she said. “When I heard this was going on here, I came over. Plus that it’s free, and who wouldn’t want to take advantage of that?”
SHA staffers Kathleen Moore, Cliff Jorgenson and Buck Smith also got tested.
“In our jobs, we’re around people all the time, and going in to apartments to fix things,” said Smith. “Besides that, Springfield is a red zone. I want to know I’m safe and healthy.”
SHA Accountant Kathleen Moore also visited Reed to avail herself of the testing service.
“I figured why not,” Moore asked. “It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when you have this testing going on right here where we work.”
Dr. Jonna Gaberman of the Community Health Center at Mason Square was on hand to provide education and answer questions.
“It’s so important to be tested,” Gaberman noted. “If people find out they’ve been exposed, or they have the virus, they can quarantine. At the same time people need to realize that one test is just one point in time and doesn’t guarantee you will never get it.”
At Riverview Apartments, residents, staff and the public were also drawn to visit the testing site in the Community Room.
District C Property Manager Lisa Sanford and Resident Services Coordinator Amy Santiago were on hand to help process forms for those being tested.
“We’re very pleased to have this service here at Riverview, and we encouraged our residents and staff to take advantage,” Sanford said. “During a pandemic time such as this, it is so important to have an opportunity to know that you’re safe and healthy and if not, to quarantine and get the treatment you may need.”
Resident Wilfredo Vargas took a test and said he was glad about it.
“I want to be sure I’m healthy,” he said.
Wendy Peralta also came in and went through the procedure she said was uncomfortable for just a second, and not painful at all.
“That was easy,” said Peralta, who has lived at Riverview the past eight years.
“I’m glad I came. I saw the sign in my lobby and I got right over here. Why not? This is just great to have something like this right where you live,” she added.
At Moxon, Elizabeth Olivo brought her four children, Joseph, Kayden, Stephanie and Etana, along with her mother Daisy Olivo, to be tested for COVID-19.
Elizabeth said that her asthma makes her especially careful for herself and for her children.
“I’m nervous about COVID. I don’t want to get sick and I don’t want my children to get sick. When I heard about this I knew I wanted to have us all tested,” Olivo said.
At Forest Park Manor, SHA Site Coordinator Candra Cripps said the morning testing went very well, with a steady stream of residents, staff and others coming by for a test.
“We’re very pleased with the turnout. It was great,” Cripps said.
And at Saab Court, District D Property Manager Celina Correa oversaw the operation at Saab Court, and said many residents and visitors stopped by and appreciated the service right at their doorsteps.
“This was a great opportunity for the residents as well as the surrounding community,” Correa said. “They greatly benefited by this opportunity because many have difficulty leaving their homes. This was a big success and we look forward to working with Baystate Health in the future.”
Copyright © 2013-2020 Springfield Housing Authority. All Rights Reserved.