Johns Hopkins University will provide more than 3,300 COVID-19 test kits for distribution near Hopkins' campuses and across Baltimore City, putting a key public health tool in the hands of city residents at a time when COVID test kits can be difficult to find.
The test kits, part of a supply purchased by the university, will be distributed along with approximately 30,000 N95 and KN95 masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and toiletries provided by the university's offices of Government and Community Affairs and Economic Development. Staff members in those offices are working with JHU's community partners to ensure the test kits and other pandemic necessities get to those who need them most. Each test kit package contains two tests.
"Testing remains one of the best ways we have to keep each other safe and stop the spread of COVID," said Alicia Wilson, Johns Hopkins' vice president for economic development. "But for many people, getting tests remains a real challenge. We hope that by making these resources available, we can help our neighbors manage through this pandemic."
The test kit distribution plan uses the same approach successfully piloted with the East Baltimore Food Access Initiative in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic beginning in the spring of 2020. That effort resulted in the distribution of more than 2.24 million meals to city residents over a 20-week period.
The model—in which Hopkins works closely with trusted community partners, who ensure that resources go where the need is greatest—has since been expanded to include the distribution of masks, hand sanitizer, and other PPE directly to the community.
"As we prepare to launch this rapid COVID test distribution effort, I want to extend my deepest gratitude to our community partners, who came together with us at the start of the pandemic to distribute food to our neighbors and are working with us once again to deliver rapid test kits to the community," Johns Hopkins University President Ron Daniels said. "Expanded access to testing—along with ongoing vaccination efforts—are key to curbing the spread of COVID for everyone."
Four sites have been designated for the test kit effort: The MIX Church, The Door, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, and GCA/Economic Development at Eastern. Those groups will distribute test kits to community organizations and at event sites including Food Access Partners, Homewood Partners, recipients of funding through the university's Innovation Fund for Community Safety, the Day at the Market program, mobile clinics, the upcoming CIAA Basketball Tournament Fan Fest, and Bayview Community Affairs. GCA will hold weekly meetings with its community partners for updates and to monitor and replenish test kits and PPE as needed.
Additionally, Johns Hopkins will host a community COVID-19 booster clinic on Monday, Feb. 28, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bunting Meyerhoff Interfaith and Community Service Center at 3509 N. Charles St. in Charles Village. The clinic is open to all members of the community ages 12 and older as well as Johns Hopkins affiliates; walk-in appointments are available, but affiliates are encouraged to schedule in advance via MyChart.