"Because many of you came to New York to help us out when we really needed it," said Dr. Yomaris Pena, an internal medicine physician who lives in New York City. "We are brothers and sisters, independent of color, skin, status and socio-economic background. We have to help each other."
Pena is the coordinator at a new testing site at Fallbrook Church in northwest Houston where more than 300 people were tested Thursday. Friday, a second site opens at Higher Dimension Church in southwest Houston. Together, they will test as many as 1,000 people a day for two weeks. The sites are provided by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State of New York.
"The governor wants to make sure we're out here supporting those cities and states who came to help us in our time of need," said Michael A. Kopy, Director of Emergency Management for the State of New York.
Two new #COVID19 testing sites are open in Houston, courtesy of @NYGov At 10-you’ll meet the doctor who is coordinating one site. @YomarisPena hasn’t had a full day off since mid-March #abc13 pic.twitter.com/WrIWBDm4vY— Jessica Willey (@ImJessicaWilley) July 17, 2020
In total, 20 doctors, nurses and support staff from New York have traveled to Houston.
Dr. Pena works with SOMOS, an immigrant-led network of doctors that partnered with the State of New York to open bilingual sites. In Houston, they aimed to set up at churches in hard-hit minority communities.
READ MORE: New York sends workers and 10,000 COVID-19 tests to Houston
"The demand for testing has exceeded our capacity. So, to be able to get additional help where we can, open up additional sites is a big, big plus," said Mayor Sylvester Turner.
Dr. Pena has been separated from her family for months and has had one half day off since mid-March, which she spent on an empty beach to recharge. Still, she did not hesitate when she was asked to come to Houston. She calls it her duty and honor.
Houston❤️NY | We appreciate @NYGovCuomo sending testing resources resources to #Houston to supplement our sites!— Houston Health Dept (@HoustonHealth) July 16, 2020
🚶 Two free walk-up sites:
📍Higher Dimension Church
Appt required via 1-833-697-4839
Details: https://t.co/56lmp1SQBo#hounews #StopTheSpread pic.twitter.com/USX523YBxE
"We want to help you flatten the curve, especially in communities of color and in communities that need it the most," Pena said.
To register for a test, call 1-833-697-4839. The test is free and results are expected in about two days. The sites are open from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m.- 4 p.m. Saturday.
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