As a public service, Shaw Media will provide open access to information related to the COVID-19 (Coronavirus) emergency. Sign up for the newsletter here

Aunt Martha’s Joliet Community Health Center will offer free coronavirus and antibody testing to help minorities and underserved communities.

The free testing will start July 7 at the health center at 1200 Eagle St. in Joliet, according to a news release from Coyne PR.

The testing will be offered on a first come, first served basis from 10:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. People who are interested can call the center at 877-692-8686.

“Once testing is complete, a broader research study will be conducted to provide evidence-based solutions to help reduce healthcare inequities for underserved communities,” the news release said.

The coronavirus tests can confirm a current coronavirus infection while the antibody tests can confirm a previous infection, according to the Coyne PR news release.

The free tests are being offered by Meridian of Illinois and Aunt Martha’s Health and Wellness in response to how the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately impacted "racial minorities and other underserved communities,” the news release said.

“In fact, African Americans accounted for 56% of deaths, while comprising just 30% of the population in Illinois,” the news release said.

Long-standing systemic health and social inequities have put minority groups at increased risk of getting coronavirus or severe illness, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“History shows that severe illness and death rates tend to be higher for racial and ethnic minority populations during public health emergencies than for other populations,” the CDC said.

For more local news, visit The Herald-News at https://www.theherald-news.com.

Coronavirus - What you need to know