Shelby County health officials have encouraged entities in the private sector to engage in “assurance testing” such as the event held recently by the Memphis Dawah Association. (Courtesy photo)  

While a recent COVID-19 testing event was new for the Memphis Dawah Association (MDA), community service is not. More than 400 families are served with its mobile food pantry each week.

“We are located right here in the Whitehaven community, and we wanted to do something to help mitigate this surge of COVID-19,” said MDA founder, Moulay Patton Bey. “It’s unfortunate how the effects of the virus have devastated the community.”

Shelby County health officials have encouraged entities in the private sector to engage in “assurance testing.”

“Assurance testing is testing to protect,” said Dr. Manoj Jain, one of the architects of the city’s testing program.

Health officials continue to note that too much of Shelby County’s testing capacity is not being utilized. Jain wants more small businesses and other groups to use the city’s testing programs because “greater adoption from the private sector would help quell the spread in Shelby County.”

The Memphis Dawah Association, located at 837 Craft Road, is a 501(c)(3) non-profit established in 2015. The Muslim organization is a multi-lingual, multi-ethnic community outreach entity. “Dawah” means calling or mission.

Bey was pleased with the turnout for the coronavirus testing event.

“We didn’t have any really long lines,” he said. “But there was a steady stream of cars. Those being tested stayed in their cars while healthcare workers took nasal swabs and asked a few health questions. We can’t control the spread if people are not aware that they have the virus.”

Shelby County healthcare personnel conducted drive-thru tests, informing participants that test results would be back in 24-48 hours.

Health officials continue to encourage everyone to be tested for COVID-19. More widespread testing will also be a factor in alleviating the strained hospital capacity in Shelby County hospital systems, Jain said.

Businesses and organizations interested in sponsoring a COVID-19 testing on-site for employees, or the general community, may contact the Shelby County Health Department at: 901-222-9000.