On Saturday, more than 100 persons in undertested, high-need communities were tested for COVID-19 at five locations in Halifax and Mecklenburg counties.

Sentara Healthcare and Sentara Halifax Regional Hospital partnered with a local collaborative of nonprofit organizations, faith organizations, government officials and community activists from Halifax and Mecklenburg Counties and the City of Danville. The Motley Consulting Group of Danville helped coordinate the efforts of 14 community organizations and Sentara.

“The organizations who came together for this project were amazing together,” said Dr. Monica Motley, CEO and founder of The Motley Consulting Group. “Each collaborator took on a task, which helped us organize and implement the screening events within two-weeks.”

Sentara Medical Group staff provided screening and swab testing, site set-up and technical assistance.

As part of its not-for-profit mission, Sentara Healthcare is committed to assuring access to testing for high risk communities such as African Americans, LatinX, public housing residents, seniors, essential workers and homeless persons.

Halifax and Mecklenburg Counties are among rural areas served by the initiative, which has held screenings in the Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads areas.

Tests are run at a dedicated COVID-19 testing laboratory that Sentara set up in April at Sentara Norfolk General Hospital. Results are usually returned within 24 to 36 hours.

“The level of collaboration and cooperation among these organizations was remarkable,” said Iris Lundy, director of health equity with Sentara Healthcare, whose job is to help ensure access to care in all the communities served by Sentara. “Everyone pulled together to make sure these communities received the services required to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Here are some examples of inter-agency cooperation:

• Tri-County Community Action Agency, Halifax Department of Social Services, Pleasant Grove Baptist Church of Nathalie and Banister Missionary Association organized volunteers to provide wrap-around services and needs assessment for community resources.

• Halifax County Cooperative Extension, Optima Health and community activists led communications, recruitment, and provided 160 cloth masks.

• Banister Missionary Association Women’s Ministry helped create a post-testing care kit.

• Local government officials helped secure testing locations, traffic assistance and site set-up.

• Pleasant Grove Baptist Church of Nathalie, Halifax and Mecklenburg County NAACP and community activists assisted with project planning and promotion.

• Local business owners, such as World of Sports, permitted use of their parking lots for testing.

For more information about this initiative, email Sentara Healthcare at news@sentara.com.