Crowd turns out at COVID-19 testing site in north St. Louis

“I’m glad so many people showed up. We need more people vaccinated in the city,” said Alderwoman Pam Boyd.

ST. LOUIS — Drivers filled nearly every spot and people lined up on the parking lot at Paradise Beauty One beauty supply shop in north St. Louis to get tested for COVID-19.

“I think it’s just another way of how we’re having to live now,” said 61-year-old Tywana Young.

We’re told for a second straight day dozens of people stood in steady lines at the free testing site.

Tywana Young showed up with her mom. Both are vaccinated and now want boosters.

“My mom is elderly and I want to make sure that she’s safe and sound. I have family that’s coming to visit and they’ve been tested and they’ve had their vaccinations and boosters and I want to make sure we’re safe,” said Young.

The COVID testing site is located near the intersection of West Florissant and Goodfellow in the 63120 zip code.

All year the north side area has been one of the city’s top areas with low vaccination rates.

According to the St. Louis Department of Public Health, currently, about 58% of city residents are fully-vaccinated. Roughly, 15% of residents have received boosters.

“It’s hitting us hard,” said 27th Ward Alderwoman Pam Boyd.

Four days before the New Year, Alderwoman Boyd is glad to see the sudden surge in testing in her northside neighborhood.

It comes as the St. Louis Metropolitan Task Force reports new hospital admissions and the number of confirmed covid-positive patients in intensive care units have surpassed the peak of this summer’s delta surge.

Task force hospitals are averaging eight COVID-related deaths per day over the last few weeks. 

“I don’t want to see more people dying from COVID,” Boyd said. “People always look at the north side being so negative,  but seeing all these people testing for covid in the last couple of days, I think really is a positive move.”

“We’ve had increases at school, so I  needed to know my status,” said Vanessa Coleman, a St. Louis area cosmetologist.

Coleman got tested for COVID on Tuesday.

However, nearly two years into the pandemic, she admits she’s still hesitant to get a vaccine.

“I’m just not ready. I also think that’s your choice. Free will like everything else,” said Vanessa Coleman.

“I just hope, especially as we go into the new year, that our COVID vaccinations numbers in the city will go up,” added Alderwoman Pam Boyd.

Testing at the north side site takes place from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

People living in the city who want to know where they can receive a free COVID-19 vaccine may check the city health department’s website by clicking here.

For information about testing sites, click here.

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