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Actor Sean Penn helps open COVID-19 testing program at Prado Center


BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Two-time Oscar-winning actor Sean Penn was in Bakersfield Monday morning to help open one of the county’s three COVID-19 testing sites — the Richard Prado Senior Center just off Mount Vernon Avenue in east Bakersfield.

Penn was representing his Community Organized Relief Effort, or CORE, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping deliver medical aid and other services to communities affected by crisis.  For the past several weeks CORE has been focused on the specific obstacles that the coronavirus pandemic has created for the elderly and poor.

The new community-based testing center was established in coordination with the offices of Gov. Gavin Newsom and Kern County Supervisor Leticia Perez.

Testing for first responders at the Prado Center started Monday at about 10:30 a.m. Testing for the general public begins Tuesday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Appointments can be scheduled using Verily’s online appointment system.

Penn and his associates with CORE were encouraging low-income residents of the city to step up and be tested for the coronavirus.

Penn’s organization was born out of the response to the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, which killed more than 200,000 people. Penn has maintained that it is the always most vulnerable, the elderly, and the poor who are at the greatest risk and the last to recover.

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