Free COVID-19 testing offered at event on Saturday

Healthy Connections APRN Inja Brown conducts a drive-thru COVID-19 test in De Queen. – Submitted photo

Healthy Connections Inc. will provide free COVID-19 tests at the Sixth Annual Hot Springs Community Resource Fair, Back to School Bash and Samaritan’s Shoe Giveaway on Saturday.

The event will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Hot Springs Farmers & Artisans Market, 121 Orange St. Sponsored by The Difference Makers of Hot Springs, it will include free backpacks, school supplies and tennis shoes for children, and free refreshments for attendees, a news release said.

Social distancing and face coverings are required for all attendees, it said.

“We are proud to support Difference Makers of Hot Springs and the 2020 Community Resource Fair,” Healthy Connections CEO Tony Calandro said in the release. “This event is a continuation of the work our staff has done throughout the past two months to provide free COVID-19 tests to Arkansas.”

More information about Healthy Connections’ free testing program is available at

Since late May, Mena-based nonprofit Healthy Connections has held 30 events in 13 cities and 10 counties, providing nearly 4,000 free COVID-19 tests.

Healthy Connections is also testing patients at all of its medical clinics in Mena, Little Rock, Hot Springs, Malvern, Arkadelphia, Mount Ida and De Queen.

In-clinic tests are considered medical appointments and patients should call 888-710-8220 to schedule. Healthy Connections accepts Medicaid, ArKids 1st, Medicare and most private health insurance, the release said.

There is also a sliding-fee scale for patients without health insurance who qualify. Health insurance companies are waiving all copays for COVID-19 testing, it said.

Medicaid patients may be required to switch their primary care provider to Healthy Connections before they can be seen. More information about Healthy Connections at is available at

Healthy Connections clinics are open, safe, healthy and here for the communities they serve, the release said.

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