Hampton University joining other HBCUs in becoming rapid COVID-19 testing hub

Posted at 2:04 PM, Oct 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-13 17:27:58-04

HAMPTON, Va. - The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced Tuesday that $15 million over three years is going to aid in the coronavirus response at historically Black colleges and universities.

"COVID-19 is imposing hard truths about inequity in the United States and its impact in Black community," said Allan Golston with the foundation.

The CDC has stated African Americans are more than twice as likely to be infected and die from the virus then whites. Many of those Americans are at or near the nation’s 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

"Our funding will provide test processing equipment, supplies, personnel and training capabilities," said Toni Hoover with the foundation.

Hampton University joins nine other Black colleges across the nation to serve as rapid testing hub sites.

"They have helped open the doors for our institution and others to receive funding from other agencies to be recognized as important leader in education," said Dr. Michelle Penn-Marshall with Hampton University.

Students at Hampton will not only provide COVID-19 test for their own students and staff, but also process COVID-19 tests from five other black colleges in Virginia and West Virginia.

"Target turnaround time is 24 to 48 hours," said Hoover.

The lab and mobile lab is already up and running at Hampton University. Students in the pharmacy, nursing and computer sciences programs will help with testing and contact tracing.

"It will also place us in the position to provide vaccinations once one is approved," said Penn-Marshall.

Related: Black doctors create task force to vet COVID-19 vaccine: 'There is a global mistrust in healthcare'

Hampton University says the experience the students will obtain while participating in this project is invaluable.

"The education they are getting by pivoting is amazing, they get to support one another and demonstrate resilience," said Penn-Marshall.

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