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“COVID: Don’t Bring it Home” testing and awareness campaign launched



Larry Luttinger

441 E. Washington St.

Syracuse NY 13202


“COVID: Don’t Bring it Home” testing and awareness campaign launched

Syracuse NY – As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps across the United States, African Americans are being infected and dying at a disproportionately high rate. A broad ranging partnership led by 100 Black Men, with the help of the Syracuse Community Health Center, CNY Jazz, and a host of area health services and media organizations, will mount a high-profile urban health awareness and COVID testing campaign in August and September to combat this threat. The effort will provide goodie bags filled with masks, sanitizers, and other health awareness information to those being tested at the health center’s drive-through and walk-up testing site at 819 South Salina Street. Called “COVID: Don’t Bring It Home”, the initiative has the primary goals of controlling community spread in urban locations and increased testing by urban residents. George Kilpatrick, media veteran and radio host, will act as spokesperson for an aggressive marketing campaign to attract urban youth.

To bring more urban residents to the testing site, the bags will be given out on four Thursdays from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm starting August 27th, which will include masks and hand sanitizer, as well as public health information from the members of the healthcare village that has accompanied Jazz in the City urban outreach concerts in the past. The drive-through and walk-through process will be fast and simple, and small groups of sidewalk musicians including Ronnie Leigh, the BlackLites Lite, and Mike Houston & Sam Wynn will serenade those waiting in line.

United Healthcare has taken a significant lead role underwriting the campaign, as well as Syracuse YSAP (Youth Substance Abuse Prevention). Additional sponsors include Tops Friendly Markets, CSEA Local 1000, Geddes Federal Savings and Loan, Circare, the New York State Office of Mental Health, Wegmans, and Molina Healthcare.

PPE supplies, nurse clinicians, and all testing resources will be supplied by Governor Cuomo’s Office, the Syracuse Community Health Center, and Molina Healthcare.

Event volunteers will come from the ranks of 100 Black Men of Syracuse, Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and CNY Jazz.

The campaign will include PSA announcements on WCNY, WAER, Power 620 radio, and social media influencer UrbanTSyr. Boots on the ground will be provided by members of Omega Psi Phi, Chi Pi Chapter, who will canvas surrounding neighborhoods and housing with flyers before each testing week. The Syracuse Housing Authority will post notices in all of their properties across Syracuse.

Drake Harrison of 100 Black Men, commented, “Equal access to health care is an important right for all Americans, and we are very aware of the obstacles that Black, LatinX, and other people of color face in gaining this access. This awareness campaign is meant not only to achieve more complete and accurate testing results for the people of our community but also to educate our community about the vital importance of masking and social distancing. Don’t Bring it Home! Lives are at risk.”

Mark Hall, CEO of the Syracuse Community Health Center, said, “We’re extremely happy to team up with this broad group of stakeholders to mount this effort. We are committed to the safety and well-being of our most vulnerable urban residents, and we welcome all those who are able to be tested and become more aware of how their actions can make those around them safer.”

George Kilpatrick added, “I am honored to be part of the effort to help raise awareness and reduce the morbidity among Black and Brown people who are adversely impacted by the virus. We can and will save lives as a result.”

Masks and sanitizers, goodie bags, and live music will be available at these “Don’t Bring it Home” extended testing hours at the Syracuse Community Health Center, 819 S. Salina St, Syracuse NY 13202. Drive to the parking lot behind the center.

6:00 – 8:00 pm Thursday, August 27th with the BlackLites Lite

6:00 – 8:00 pm Thursday, September 3rd with Ronnie Leigh

6:00 – 8:00 pm Thursday, September 10th with Mike Houston & Sam Wynn

6:00 – 8:00 pm Thursday, September 17th with the BlackLites Lite

The testing site is open 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Wednesday, 9:00 am through 8:00 pm on the Thursdays above, Friday 9:00 to 5:00 and Saturday 9:00 to 1:00 pm. For a full schedule and all details visit