Supervisor Continues Mask Donation in Koreatown in Response to COVID-19

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to threaten communities, the Second District is ramping up efforts to ensure no community is left behind in the fight against the coronavirus.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas visited St. James Episcopal Church in Koreatown where one of St. John’s Well Child and Family Mobile Clinic is performing hundreds of free COVID-19 tests daily. In a continued partnership with Operation USA and Servicon, the Supervisor distributed thousands of masks to both St. James Episcopal Church and St. John’s Mobile Clinic.

“We are proactively communicating that we should wear our masks, and that we have to sanitize our hands and maintain appropriate social distancing,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. A few weeks ago, Supervisor Ridley-Thomas in conjunction with Operation USA and Servicon also provided a similar mask donation to Southern St. Paul Church and the St. John’s Mobile Clinic stationed there.

Mask donations were distributed to the community in reusable bags. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors.

“The ultimate goal is just to continuously promote that everyone wear facial coverings and masks,” said Servicon Associate Director Susan Matt. “We need to do whatever we can to mitigate the spreading of COVID-19 and focus on hygiene.”

Access to free hygiene services is important for individuals experiencing homelessness who are particularly vulnerable to COVID-19. This has prompted St. James Episcopal Church to host recurring Shower of Hope events on-site as well.

“We are here because this is a location where the homeless population is being cared for by way of the weekly Shower of Hope Mobile Unit, St. John’s Mobile COVID-19 Testing Clinic, and St. James Church,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas. “We are here because we know this is serious. We are here because the spread of the virus can be slowed if we do our part.”

“Thank you to Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas for helping and giving, and for free masks and COVID-19 testing,” said St. James Episcopal Church Pastor John Kim who received the donation for the Koreatown church.

The Shower of Hope non-profit organization visits the church weekly to provide free showers to individuals experiencing homelessness. Shower of Hope has recently expanded their shower operations countywide in response to the pandemic as did St. John’s Mobile Clinics with their free COVID-19 testing.

Two St. John’s Clinic staff and Supervisor Ridley-Thomas at the patient intake station for the mobile clinic unit at St. James Episcopal Church. Photo by Aurelia Ventura/Board of Supervisors.

“We’re here to let people know to keep their guards up at all times when it comes to COVID-19, even if you find out that you test negative,” said St. John’s Well Child and Family Center community clinic organizer and benefits counselor Gary Poe. “Please continue to stay quarantined with the folks that you live with. We’re finding out that a lot of people are visiting each other during this time. This is really not the time to be visiting because you may have your circle where everyone has been tested—but once you visit another household, you’re exposed again.”

If you must see others in person, take the simple yet important steps to stay protected. “These masks make a difference. Make sure you get one and wear it,” said Supervisor Ridley-Thomas.

This recent visit to yet another mobile testing site highlights the newly expanded testing capacity countywide—a 40 percent increase—with a focus on underserved areas. This expansion enables LA County to now test 55,000 residents a week.