OAKLAND (CBS SF) – A church in the East Bay is stepping up to serve neighborhoods hit hard by COVID-19 by expanding the availability of free testing.

At Acts Full Gospel Church in Oakland on Tuesday, a line of cars snaked through the parking lot, as hundreds of people are waiting in line to get tested for the coronavirus. The church’s testing site was prepared to test 300 people Tuesday for COVID-19.

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Azurie Bright and his grandmother got in line 30 minutes before the site opened and waited about two-and-a-half hours for their free tests.

“I work at Starbucks and I have a lot of interaction with a lot of people during the day,” Bright told KPIX 5.

COVID-19 testing at Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland on December 29, 2020. (CBS)

COVID-19 testing at Acts Full Gospel Church in East Oakland on December 29, 2020. (CBS)

Church leaders said as an organization in the underserved area of East Oakland, it’s their obligation to step up during the pandemic.

“COVID-19 has been such an impactful virus in the Black community, especially this zip code, 94621,” said Corey Vason of Acts Full Gospel Church.

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Data from the Centers for Disease Control shows African Americans who do get COVID-19 are more likely to get severely ill and need to be hospitalized, in part due to lack of access to health care and a higher rate of pre-existing medical conditions.

“African Americans are disproportionately dying from COVID 19,” Vason said.

The church was already offering free testing on Saturdays, but due to an increased need, especially after the holidays, they’re also offering testing on Tuesdays as well.

“I think it’s really good that they’re doing that, especially for people right now who aren’t able to pay for it,” Bright said.

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Following the New Year’s holiday, the next free testing day will be January 5th and will continue every Tuesday and Saturday after that, starting at 9 a.m.