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DC nonprofit provides free COVID-19 testing for District community, protesters

CORE, Community Organized Relief Effort, set up testing in D.C. this weekend to help protesters keep their health in check.

WASHINGTON — As protesters continue to crowd the streets of DC, a nonprofit has set up free testing sites over the last few weekends, so people can check to see if they have the coronavirus.

The nonprofit CORE, or Community Organized Relief Effort, Saturday, June 20, and a previous weekend around June 1, after feeling inspired by the protests across the country.

The pop-up test site at Nationals Park at the Geico Garage is open Saturday until 10 p.m. D.C. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser is also working with the organization, according to CORE.

There are plans to host more pop-up testing sites moving forward and Mayor Muriel Bowser is also working with the organization, according to CORE.

“Protesting is our civic duty, and we feel that testing ourselves is as well," Ann Lee, CORE's CEO said. "We want to support our awesome amazing protesters out there really saving our republic, and we feel that this is our best way to do that.”

Lee originally co-founded the organization with actor Sean Penn to "empower and support vulnerable communities, who have suffered from inequality, exclusion from opportunities, and institutionalized violence." 

Now, they're working to keep those communities healthy amid the pandemic.

“Predominantly it’s low income communities of color that are always the most vulnerable … so we see that there is a much bigger, much longer standing disaster that has been happening, which is racism," Lee said. "Keeping protesters safe is for us keeping these communities safe that always get hit the hardest in all these disasters.”

They worked with the Los Angeles Mayor to determine how they can best serve these communities, and found a way to offer free testing to anyone who requests it.

The process takes less than 10 minutes from the time of registration.

Then, volunteers will provide swab kits, and one of them will instruct each person how to take their own sample.

Then, people drop the swabs off in a bin, and await their test results in two to three days.

CORE currently operates 38 testing sites across the country and has administered more than 400,000 tests.

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