August 25, 2020

Announcing First-Ever COVID-19 Mobile Response Unit in Pennsylvania

Department of Health Partners with Community Groups to Develop COVID-19 Mobile Response Unit to Provide Testing and Education

Harrisburg, PA – Pennsylvania Department of Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine today announced the department has partnered with Latino Connection, Highmark Blue Shield and the Independence Blue Cross Foundation to create the first in the nation COVID-19 Mobile Response Unit to provide testing and education throughout Pennsylvania targeting minority and underserved communities.

“We share a unified purpose of building healthy communities through access to care and education to create a healthy Pennsylvania for all,” Dr. Levine said. “This partnership will help ensure Pennsylvanians, no matter where they live or what language they speak, will have access to COVID-19 testing.  It also furthers the Wolf Administration’s commitment to creating pathways to health equity for anyone living in the commonwealth.”

Known as CATE, Community-Accessible Testing & Education, the unit is equipped to conduct COVID-19 testing on-site through a mobile RV vehicle while also educating the public on how to stay healthy and safe. The mobile response unit’s tagline is “Sharing knowledge to erase fear,” which it intends to do through widespread community healthcare and health education offered with no insurance required.

“I am thrilled and humbled for Latino Connection to play a role in this critically important initiative,” George Fernandez, Founder and CEO of Latino Connection said. “With almost 30 tour stops already on the schedule, CATE will be accessible to people in nearly every region across Pennsylvania. Any organization who wishes to request a stop in its community may complete a contact form on the website to do so.”

CATE will be making tour stops in the following counties:

  • Adams
  • Allegheny
  • Chester
  • Berks
  • Bucks
  • Delaware
  • Erie
  • Lancaster
  • Lebanon
  • Lehigh
  • Luzerne
  • Monroe
  • Montgomery
  • Northampton
  • Philadelphia
  • York

Those interested in visiting CATE can find the tour stop schedule listed on the website at www.CATEmobileunit.com or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CATEmobileunit. Services are available on a first come, first serve basis. Social distancing and masking guidelines will be followed at all times.

“We at Highmark are delighted to be teaming up with the commonwealth, Latino Connection and Independence Blue Cross in supporting this important service to help fight COVID 19. During this time of uncertainty, we feel this is an excellent use of our resources,” Daniel Onorato, executive vice president, chief corporate affairs officer for Highmark Health said. “We ultimately hope to touch thousands of residents through this effort.”

“We’re very excited to work with the Pennsylvania Department of Health and Latino Connection to address the need for increased COVID-19 testing in underserved communities throughout our region,” President of the Independence Blue Cross Foundation Lorina Marshall-Blake said. “Education and testing are essential to ending the devastation of this pandemic in our communities, particularly among minorities and communities of color who have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19.”

For more information about COVID-19 testing in near you, visit the Department of Health’s website, www.health.pa.gov.   

MEDIA CONTACTS: Stephanie Shirley, Latino Connection, 717-842-0580 or Stephanie@bennisinc.com

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