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Black doctor brings COVID testing and vaccine access to the underserved communities

How a doctor built a business to increase access to COVID-19 services.

ATLANTA — Access to tests and vaccines for COVID-19 is not equal for all communities, and access to health services and infrastructure in communities of color is a long-standing problem.

However, in Atlanta, one doctor decided to find a way to stand in that gap.

Dr. Jonathan Goss, a Black man, is an emergency room doctor at Emory and a graduate of Morehouse College. He founded Emergent 11 months ago and operates COVID-19 testing and vaccination sites in underserved communities in Atlanta, DeKalb, and Gwinnett. He’s also operating in other metro Atlanta cities and has locations in Houston, Texas.

"In May and June, we were probably at our lowest levels as relates to testing and even vaccinations. But with back-to-school, our numbers have easily tripled compared to what we were doing in June," Goss said while outside his site in the parking lot of The Mall West End.

On Monday afternoon, cars filled with children were lined up to get COVID tests.

Among those was 13-year-old Madison Griffith, who was quarantined after a COVID outbreak in her school, an experience she referred to as "boring."

"Some people at my school got it. We had to quarantine, but they would not tell who had it," the teenager added.

As of Friday, state data shows Georgia was averaging about 8,400 new COVID-19 cases each day. That’s four times higher than this time a month ago.

Georgians are also getting more than 50,000 tests per day – that’s two and a half times more than this time last month.

Dr. Goss said the PCR test given at Emergent would produce same-day results unless the test is taken late in the day.