Oakland County, McLaren Oakland hospital and the Pontiac Housing Commission will go on the road to offer free COVID-19 tests and other health services to residents of Carriage Circle Apartments beginning June 2.
The county, McLaren Oakland and the housing commission will be offering a host of services to Carriage Circle residents at the Pontiac apartment complex near Auburn Avenue and South Opdyke. Services include free COVID-19 tests, health screenings, food security assessments and evaluations to determine if there are other needs. County staff will be onsite help residents fill out the U.S. Census 2020 questionnaire.
“This COVID initiative builds on our Oakland Health360 initiative that will transform health services provided in our public health clinics,” Oakland County Executive David Coulter said. “COVID-19 highlights the racial disparities in our health care that were already unacceptable before the pandemic. It is important to take these critical health services where they are needed and I’m grateful to our partners for their willingness to help.”
McLaren will provide the nurses and other staff to do assessments of each person. The county’s Health Division will supply the testing kits. An appointment is required for a test. No appointment will be taken onsite.
“To protect those populations who are most at-risk for the coronavirus, and to help stop the virus’s spread, testing is essential,” said Margaret Dimond, Ph.D., McLaren Oakland president and chief executive officer. “We’re thankful to be in the position to help this population and continue to promote and support the health and wellbeing of our Pontiac community.”
Oakland County Commissioner Angela Powell, who represents Pontiac, worked closely with the county to help set up a place-based health clinic at the apartment complex.
“The numbers, according to the Oakland County Health Division, show that African Americans comprise more than 30 percent of confirmed COVID-19 cases and 36 percent of the deaths but only 14 percent of the population,” Powell said. “It is critical we bring testing to Pontiac residents where they live and who, for whatever reason, may have had limited access to testing. I applaud the county, McLaren Oakland and the Pontiac Housing Commission for stepping up and addressing this critical need.”
Carriage Circle also is being considered to receive a $39 million federally backed allocation from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development under the HOME Investments Partnership Program to renovate the complex’s 200-plus housing units. The county has allocated $1.5 million to the project and the city of Pontiac has committed $500,000 to support the funding, should it be awarded.
The renovations would begin in 2021, Deputy County Executive Rudy Hobbs said.
Ahmad Taylor, executive director of the Pontiac Housing Commission, said the testing and planned renovations were great news for complex residents.
“This is a reinvention of the area,” Taylor said. “The residents want to see it happen. It’s all about action.”
Coulter and Taylor both thanked Powell for her role in getting the place-based testing in Pontiac and the funding for renovations.