In New York City, one of the hardest-hit areas of the country during the COVID-19 pandemic, Catholic churches are turning into testing centers.
The Archdiocese of New York and SOMOS, a network of over 2,500 doctors serving nearly 800,000 largely immigrant New Yorkers, announced on Monday that they will launch of a partnership “focused on healing a distressed city whose immigrant communities are reeling from joint crises.”
In areas of the city that are predominantly Hispanic, 52 churches will provide COVID-19 testing to local communities and lay workers. The parishes are in the boroughs of Queens, the Bronx, Brooklyn, and Upper Manhattan.
“As Pope Francis personally reminded SOMOS doctors last year, healthcare is an essential human right, and as New York seeks to heal and reopen after experiencing twin crises brought on by inequality, this partnership is essential,” said Dr. Ramon Tallaj, Chairman and Founder of SOMOS Community Care, who led a delegation of physicians to a papal audience last year at the Vatican.
“It is our people, our communities, that are hurting the most from this virus, and houses of worship can be a haven for community members as part of our recovery process. This partnership with the Archdiocese of New York furthers our mission to care for the most vulnerable.
SOMOS (the Spanish word for “we are”), which was launched in 2015, is a non-profit, physician-led network of over 2,500 health care providers serving over 800,000 Medicaid beneficiaries in New York City.