District 2 Public Health director Pamela Logan and her team have been testing for COVID-19 at the Allen Creek Soccer Complex in Gainesville for the past six weeks now, but Friday’s testing was special.

Cars began lining up outside the facility as early as 7 a.m. to get free tests and packages of  food provided by the Georgia Mountain Food Bank.

Masked food bank workers unpacked and sorted boxes of fresh meat and produce from the back of a refrigerated truck recently provided by the Georgia Food Bank Association while DPH nurses prepared to greet prospective testing patients at a previously setup pre-screening tent.

By the 8:30 a.m. starting time, the line of cars had already extended beyond the Allen Creek Soccer Complex parking lot entry road. By the end of the day, 498 tests had been completed.

The partnership between the food bank and the DPH was the type Logan sees as essential as COVID-19 alters lives and the community.

“We can’t do it all alone,” Logan said. “We can test people, but they need so much more than testing right now. In times like these, collaborating is more important than ever before.”

On the testing side, the event provided better access.