Optum Rx, the pharmacy care services business of UnitedHealth Group, is donating 5,000 at-home COVID-19 rapid antigen self-tests to increase access to COVID-19 testing and support for underserved communities across Chicago.
Vaccination offers the best protection from severe COVID-19 outcomes, but frequent and easy access to testing is critical to help stop the spread in this new phase of the pandemic. Underserved communities are especially at risk of experiencing high hospitalization or death from COVID-19 and can benefit from additional free testing resources.
“We’re making promising strides in the fight against the pandemic, but the COVID-19 virus is still circulating in the U.S. and jeopardizing people’s health and well-being,” said Sumit Dutta, chief medical officer, Optum Rx. “Access to free and fast testing remains critical for protecting the health of our communities and preventing those infected from spreading the virus to their friends, family and other Chicagoans. We’re honored to partner with the city of Chicago to ensure citizens have access to needed tests.”
Minority populations, including Black, Latino and Native American people in the U.S. face significant health disparities due to long-standing health, economic, housing and environmental realities that create a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. Optum Rx worked with the Chicago Department of Public Health to identify and distribute the COVID-19 rapid antigen self-tests to organizations in need, including:
- Mountain of Fire and Miracles. MFM is a Nigerian full gospel ministry that provides 24/7 prayer services.
- United Esan Association of Illinois Inc. UEAI is a nonprofit association whose purpose is to preserve and promote the Esan culture and heritage.
- Irving Park Community Pantry. Located within the Emanuel United Methodist Church, the Irving Park Community Food Pantry is dedicated to helping alleviate food insecurity for anyone needing help in the 60641 and 60618 ZIP codes.
- Northwest Center. The Northwest Center serves Chicago's Belmont-Cragin neighborhood, providing housing counseling, financial education, community organizing, outreach, advocacy and supportive services.
- SWOP (Southwest Organizing Project). The Southwest Organizing Project’s mission is to build a broad-based organization of Christian, Muslim and Jewish faith institutions, local schools and other institutions in Southwest Chicago.
Consumers can obtain free COVID-19 rapid antigen self-tests by contacting one of the organizations. There are no eligibility requirements or limits per household. The self-tests are indicated for children as young as 2 years old when administered by an adult, and for all people 14 and older to self-perform.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, and at this point we are fortunate to have tools to keep our communities safe,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “We’re thankful for the partnerships that help us get much needed resources to those who need them most.”
About Optum Rx
Optum Rx is a pharmacy care services company helping clients and more than 59 million people achieve better health outcomes and lower overall costs through innovative prescription drug benefit services, including network claims processing, clinical programs, formulary management, specialty pharmacy care and infusion services. Through expertise, flexible technology and a network of over 67,000 community pharmacies and state-of-the-art home delivery pharmacies, Optum Rx is putting patients at the center of the pharmacy experience and making health care more connected and less fragmented — ensuring patients get the right medication at the right time at the best cost. Optum Rx is part of Optum®, a leading information and technology-enabled health services business dedicated to making the health system work better for everyone. For more information, visit optum.com/optumrx or follow @OptumRx on Twitter.