COVID-19 Testing Expands

Multnomah County teams up with PCC

The Multnomah County Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) Program, in partnership with Multnomah County Communicable Disease Services and Portland Community College, have begun to host a free, weekly, flu vaccine and COVID-19 testing drive-thru clinic at the college’s Cascade Campus in north Portland.

The testing will be offered in the campus parking lot just off North Albina Avenue, one block north of Killingsworth Street, every Wednesday though March 31, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Residents are invited to drive through, bike or walk up to receive a free flu vaccination. COVID-19 testing is also available at no cost for anyone with symptoms or anyone who has had recent close contact with a person with COVID-19.

Black and African American residents, other people of color and people without health insurance or a regular health care provider will be prioritized. The clinic has capacity to serve about 200 people each week. Call to schedule your appointment at 503-988-8939.

The PCC-REACH clinic comes in addition to Multnomah County’s standing low-barrier COVID-19 testing sites at the East County Health Center, Immigrant and Refugee Community Organization and Latino Network’s Rockwood location.

“Multnomah County’s REACH Program works to support a culture of Black health,” said REACH program manager Charlene McGee. “We want to help people protect themselves, their families and their community. Flu vaccine is a safe public health intervention that prevents illnesses, so that our healthcare systems aren’t overwhelmed with patients. Getting a flu vaccine this year is more important than ever, given the COVID-19 pandemic.”

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Registered Nurse Jaelyn Tanga administers flu vaccines and COVID-19 tests at a drive-thru clinic on PCC’s Cascade Campus.

The CDC recommends that everyone 6 months of age and older get a flu shot every flu season. Though anyone can get sick with the flu, it is especially dangerous for people 65 and older, pregnant individuals and those with pre-existing conditions like diabetes, heart disease and asthma. These same groups are also at risk for serious illness with COVID-19.

Due to centuries of racist systems, Black people experience higher rates of chronic disease, putting them at higher risk of complications from both flu and COVID-19.

The initiative is part of REACH’s flu vaccine campaign, launched to empower trusted voices in the Black community to support vaccine education and delivery. The intent is to increase vaccination accessibility for the Black, African American and African immigrant and refugee residents.

“Portland Community College is proud to partner with Multnomah County and offer flu vaccines and COVID-19 testing, especially as pandemic cases continue to spike in Oregon,” said Brooke Loyd, PCC’s Emergency Preparedness manager. “Our collaboration will help to protect the most vulnerable Oregonians as we head into the winter months.”

Flu shots are also available at doctor’s offices and clinics and retail pharmacies. Those without a regular doctor can call the Multnomah County Primary Care Clinics at 503-988-5558 to enroll and become a patient to receive the flu vaccine and access to other services.