Say Yes! COVD Test Chattanooga Program Celebrates Community Distribution Partners

Wednesday, July 21, 2021
The Say Yes! COVID Test (SYCT) At-Home Testing Challenge, which provided households within and throughout Hamilton County with access to free, rapid COVID-19 test kits has ended distribution. The Project which encouraged residents to use the tests weekly, to reduce the spread of COVID-19 finalized kit distribution at the end of June. More than 50 community organizations served as distribution sites and over 39,400 kits were distributed during the six-week distribution period. 

On Thursday, July 15 a celebration was held for those who distributed kits and served as supporters of the initiative.
The event which was held at the Marriott Downtown Chattanooga was attended by community leaders that included elected officials, nonprofits, healthcare facilities, sororities and fraternities, community-based leaders, faith-based groups and human service organizations. 

The Project was a collaboration between the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, along with state and local health departments including the Hamilton County Health Department as well as the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Duke University and the Community Campus Partnership for Health.  Angella Dunston, director of Community Engagement, thanked those in attendance for their hard work, dedication and commitment to the initiative. Ms. Dunston said, “It was you the community leaders of Chattanooga that took this idea and turned it into a successful plan of action which hopefully prevented the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus in Chattanooga and Hamilton County.”
 
Many of those in attendance shared testimonies regarding the importance of the SYCT pilot project. Councilwoman Raquetta Dotley, who represents District 7, shared comments regarding her engagement with the project not only as an elected officials, but also as a member of Westside Baptist Church, which served as one of the distribution partners. She emphasized the need for efforts such as this to continue in order to decrease the spread of COVID. Sandra Adams with Deltas Serving Together Inc. (DeSTI), a 501 (C) 3 Foundation, spoke about a long-time community health leader that had strongly encouraged Chattanoogans to practice safety precautions and to get tested to prevent COVID. He unfortunately died after contracting the disease during the height of the pandemic. 

Prior to the pilot project, most of the partners didn’t know each other or hadn’t worked together. Those in attendance, expressed not only their gratitude for the SYCT Pilot Project which created collaborations and synergy among the partners, but also the desire to continue efforts to prevent COVID, especially now as the Delta variant has increased the spread of the virus.

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