Holmes Brings COVID-19 Testing to Underserved Patients in North St. Louis City

Published on 07 April 2020

As communities across the country race to respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, countless underserved patients who are at high risk for the virus are finding it difficult, if not, impossible to access the critical screening and testing they need.

In the St. Louis area, Kendra Holmes, B.S. '99, Pharm.D. '00, CHCEM, chief operating officer (COO) at Affinia Healthcare and member of the St. Louis College of Pharmacy Board of Trustees, is doing her part to improve access for residents in North St. Louis City.

In partnership with the St. Louis Regional Health Commission, Affinia Healthcare has established a COVID-19 testing station in the heart of north St. Louis at 1717 Biddle St. The station is the first of its kind in the area.

“North St. Louis City is a location where we see a large amount of health disparities and a great need for access to quality health care,” Holmes said. “Until now, there were no COVID-19 testing stations available in north St. Louis. In keeping with Affinia Healthcare’s mission to provide high-quality health care to the underserved, our station will serve some of the region’s most vulnerable residents including the homeless and those living far below the federal poverty line.”

With chronic health conditions being so prevalent within underserved populations, Holmes explains that access to COVID-19 testing is critical to preventing the spread of the virus among residents in north St. Louis and beyond.

“We know that individuals with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension have more complications associated with COVID-19, and we also know that there are many residents in the north St. Louis community who are struggling with these types of conditions,” Holmes said. “As such, the need for COVID-19 testing in the area is critical to preventing the spread of the virus and the potential loss of lives. By stepping up to provide this service, we’re sending a message to the community that we see them, we understand the tremendous need that exists and we value them and their right to get tested.”

As COO of Affinia Healthcare, Holmes is responsible for all operations, staffing and communications duties related to the testing site. She notes that those who are concerned that they have COVID-19 symptoms can contact Affinia for a phone screening.

Patients who meet the screening criteria are then scheduled for a testing appointment at the drive-through testing location on Biddle Street. All testing services are provided to patients free of charge.

Services began on April 2 and will continue for the next several weeks.

“For more than 100 years, Affinia Healthcare has been providing essential health care services in the St. Louis community,” Holmes said. “As long as the need is here, we will be here to serve and advocate for the most vulnerable in our communities.

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