Take Action: A Day of Civic Engagement in Hartford

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Whether you need a COVID-19 test, help with voter registration, or some free vegetables, there was something for everyone at a community event in Hartford Tuesday. Organizers say there are more of these events to come.

“Very simple, easy, and fast,” said Hartford resident Joan Cruz.

For Cruz and her family, getting a coronavirus test was a breeze, especially with the testing coming to the community.

“We want to make sure people have access, access to quick results and quick turnaround time results which we’re dedicated to do,” said David Santoro, vice president of business operations for Hartford Healthcare.

Hartford Healthcare worked with the city to provide the testing which was made available for free thanks to a state grant.

“This is not insurance billed, no co-insurance collected. This is truly free testing, provided in support through a grant to bring testing to people in communities throughout the State of Connecticut,” said Santoro.

And Santoro says swabbing at their mobile site doesn’t involve going way up into the nostril.

“We do not do nasopharyngeal swabbing where people were used to getting the swab and having it go way up their nostril. We are doing what is called an anterior swabbing approach which is just having a Q-tip going just inside your nostril, inside both nostrils, for a few seconds to get a good testing sample,” said Santoro. “It’s not invasive. It’s easy. It doesn’t hurt, and it’s important to do too. So that’s a huge message for us right now, to come out and get tested and know that it’s not the highly-invasive approach.”

Tuesday’s event in Hartford, called Take Action: A Day of Civic Engagement, had more than just testing. The city handed out free thermometers for school-aged children who live in or attend school in Hartford. Census workers came out to help residents complete the census, and those interested could also register to vote.

“As always, our mission is to empower our community and change lives,” said Melinda Clarke with the Urban League of Greater Hartford.

The Urban League of Greater Hartford showcased the resources they provide like workshops and youth development while also offering free children’s books. The Hispanic Health Council offered advice on healthy eating as well as offering free vegetables to families.

“The point is to eat healthier than what you do,” said Migdalia Texidor-Huertes with the Hispanic Health Council.

Many organizations came together to offer a variety of services and help for anyone who may need it. It’s something Cruz says she’d like to see more of.

“Creating more awareness about COVID and civic engagement I think is very important for our community members,” said Cruz.

City officials say COVID-19 testing in Hartford is offered at no charge. If you missed Tuesday’s event, there are more events planned in the coming days. To keep up to date on those, officials say you can head to the city’s website, or follow the Facebook pages of Mayor Luke Bronin or Hartford Health and Human Services.

To learn more about where, when, and how to get COVID tests with Hartford Healthcare, click here.

To learn more about the Hispanic Health Council, click here.

To learn more about Urban League of Greater Hartford, click here.

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