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By Steve Steiner
Executive Editor 

Expectations Surpassed at COVID-19 Test Site


Last updated 6/3/2020 at 2:33pm

Concerns over the weather potentially having a negative impact on Saturday's May 30 COVID-19 testing site proved unfounded, according to Scott Sjoblom, with the Polk County Health Department. As a result, the turnout found him and others conducting the testing held at the Carver Rec Center pleased.

"It met our expectations for today," said Sjoblom, who is also this year's Bartow mayor. "We hoped to do about 200. Right now, with a head count, we've done slightly more than that."

The process for getting tested ran smoothly, thanks it good part to nearly 50 participants, with about 25-30 staffers with the county's health department, and 15-20 volunteers; many of the volunteers were members of Omega Psi Phi, a black fraternity.

The latter group was assembled through the efforts of Doris Moore Bailey, a founding officer of the African-American Chamber of Commerce of Polk County. This was not the first time the fraternity has volunteered members, as an earlier COVID-19 test site had been held two weeks earlier in Lakeland.

Getting the black community tested, according to Moore, was (and is) of great imperative.

"We know the virus is so deadly," said Moore. "It has a higher rate in the black community."

Because of this, Moore and the African-American Chamber got in touch with Dr. Joy L. Jackson. Jackson, an internist who is with the Florida (nee Polk County) Health Department Lakeland Clinic. "We started to reach out to Dr. Jackson to have testing, as there was no testing in the black community."

The turnout, Sjoblom estimated was a good mix of black, white and latino community members. He added that the county's epidemiology department is keeping good records of both the physical and demographic regions where testing is being conducted.

Author Bio

Steve Steiner, Executive Editor

Steve came out of a two-year retirement to helm Following a career in journalism/advertising/public relations --- at one point being a partner in an advertising/PR agency --- he shifted professions and focused on food service and hospitality before returning to journalism. As a journalist, rose from reporter to sections editor to managing/executive editor with newspapers in North Carolina, Mississippi and Florida. He is enjoying restoring a quality news site for his adopted hometown. Send him your story ideas.


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