Mayor Moran, Latino Connection, and Community Partners Welcome CATE Mobile COVID-19 Testing Unit in Reading

Reading, PA, September 11, 2020 – In partnership with the Pennsylvania Department of Health, Highmark Blue Shield, the Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Penn State Health and Latino Connection, Pennsylvania’s COVID-19 Mobile Response Unit made its first stop in Berks County today where it was unveiled during a press conference with Mayor Eddie Moran and other community leaders.

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.

"We are thankful the organizers chose Reading as one of the two stops in Berks County for the mobile testing unit." Mayor Eddie Moran said. "Although it is important to continue maintaining social distance and wearing a face mask, it is only through testing that the virus can be detected, traced, and community outbreaks prevented. Statistics have shown that Hispanics, African-Americans, and older adults are the more vulnerable groups to contract the virus, which represents a large part of Reading’s population. My full support goes out to this effort and similar initiatives that benefit our residents in such a challenging time."

CATE offered free COVID-19 testing, education, and resources from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. today at the Reading Branch YMCA. Tomorrow from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the mobile unit will be on site at the Sinking Spring YMCA located at 4920 Penn Avenue, Sinking Spring, PA. Those interested in visiting CATE can learn more 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.

"The CATE mobile response initiative has already made 15 stops across 8 counties where approximately 400 COVID-19 tests have been administered at no cost to our most vulnerable communities," George Fernandez, Founder and CEO of Latino Connection said. "Additionally, we’re making it accessible for people to receive free PPE items and information in both English and Spanish which is essential for closing the divide on health disparity in Pennsylvania."

"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 are honored to be the provider of choice for this important endeavor with Latino Connection and PA Department of Health. Penn State Health St. Joseph continues to support the health and wellness of our community – both Downtown Reading and beyond – to be available for those in need," adds Mary Hahn, Vice President, Ambulatory Services & Business Development, Penn State Health St. Joseph.

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