By Ryan Hill

NATOMAS (CBS13) – People are trickling in one-by-one to the Mexican Consulate in Natomas.

Some, like Anna Arriaga, are here for something besides diplomatic help.

“I’ve been having a few symptoms and I’m a little concerned that I may have COVID-19,” Arriaga said.

The consulate recently started a partnership with Elica Health Centers to provide free COVID-19 testing in Natomas.

“This is an effort to reach out to those who are most vulnerable. Those who do not have documents. Those who do not have medical insurance. Trying to promote a healthy community as a whole,” Lilianna Ferrer, Consul General for the Consulate General of Mexico, said.

“It’s great that they’re providing free services now because it makes it a lot easier for people who are doubting or feeling symptomatic,” Arriaga said.

READ: 7-Eleven Cancels Free Slurpee Day Due To Coronavirus Concerns

While offering this help is a step in the right direction, it’s bringing to light a much larger issue particularly for the Latino community.

“We see a higher, disproportionately higher number of cases. And this requires us to continue to work with our Latino partners, our counties across the state, to determine what other efforts and interventions are needed,” Dr. Mark Ghaley, Secretary of California Health And Human Services, said.

More testing is on the way to this diverse area of Sacramento. Starting next Tuesday, there will be by-appointment testing at the Natomas Unified School District’s service center. It’s a partnership involving many entities: Sacramento County Health Department, the City of Sacramento, the Consulate General of Mexico, Elica Health Centers, and UC Davis.

Something Sacramento Mayor Pro Tem Angelique Ashby hopes can help those who may not have the means to get tested.

“And the first testing centers opening Sacramento, you know, were in predominantly African American neighborhoods. Now, we are hearing about the anxiety and the level access from the Latino community and this is a direct answer to that,” Ashby said.

It’s an answer in a time filled with so much wondering what will happen next.

“Our community has a lack of resources and that might be the reason why maybe there’s a higher risk and higher number of maybe of people that are testing positive,” Arriaga said. “So the fact that we are being provided for our Latino community is amazing.”

The consulate site will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for the remainder of June.

Natomas Unified said appointments for the site at its service center can be made here, www.natomasunified.org/covid19-testing. The appointments will be held every Tuesday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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