OWENSBORO, Ky. (WEHT) –Three organizations are working together to aid COVID testing among an underserved population in Owensboro.

The Daniel Pitino Shelter, OASIS and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid are joining forces to distribute COVID test kits in Owensboro. The purpose is to ensure that homeless people have the necessary testing available to help limit the spread of COVID-19 and to improve public health outcomes across Kentucky.

“The pandemic has exacerbated the inequalities and challenges long faced by our most vulnerable neighbors, including the facilities and professionals they rely on for assistance,” said Leon Lamoreaux, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Medicaid President in Kentucky. “Anthem is committed to improving the health and well-being of communities, close gaps in care and increase health equity across the Bluegrass, and we are proud to partner with the Daniel Pitino Shelter and OASIS to help fight the spread of COVID-19 and deliver on that pledge for Kentuckians experiencing homelessness.”

More than 4,000 people in the Commonwealth experience homelessness on any given day according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. Many unhoused Kentuckians are also living with pre-existing or undiagnosed health conditions that make them even more susceptible to contracting COVID-19, hospitalization and death.

The Homelessness Research Institute cites medical history and inability to socially distance and properly sanitize as contributing factors to increased rates of COVID-19 transmission and mortality among homeless people.

Anthem will distribute 5,000 test kits across the Commonwealth. Anthem has vaccinated nearly 50,000 Kentuckians, donated 20,000 personal hand sanitizers and invested almost $600,000 since the beginning of the pandemic to fight the spread of COVID-19.