Local volunteers expand roles to help seniors amid rollout of COVID-19 test kits

ORLANDO, Fla. — The federal government’s rollout of at-home COVID-19 testing kits aims to give people quick access to testing.

But navigating the online registration system to order the free kits can be intimidating for some seniors.

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Here in Central Florida, some programs are working to help.

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The Senior Resource Alliance in Orlando oversees services across four counties.

These days, one such service -- Meals on Wheels -- isn’t just delivering food.

Program volunteers are now on the front lines of assessing the need for testing by reaching out to area residents.

Carmen Colon, a local senior in her 70s, said she felt the need to get tested for COVID-19.

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When Colon tried a testing site, she didn’t expect to wait in line for hours -- three days in a row -- before she finally scored a test.

Meals on Wheels’ Wilda Belisle told WFTV she and her staff have heard other troubling stories like Colon’s when it comes to seniors visiting testing sites.

“One lady did pass out in the line and they had to call 911,” Belisle said.

In the future, at-home testing could provide a much more convenient option for Colon and other Central Florida seniors.

But Belisle said about half of the 400 seniors in their program either don’t know about the free federal tests or don’t own a computer.

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“The ones that have computers, they don’t know how to do it. So they’re like, I don’t know, I’m going to get confused -- can you help us?”

So for now, Belisle and her staff continue to work with area seniors to get them the meals -- and the tech help -- they depend on.

For more information about the Senior Resource Alliance, click here.

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