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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The blind often rely on accessible technology or help from others. In the case of COVID-19 tests getting either form of aid can be difficult.

“Thank you for calling Missouri e-pay my name is Cameron how can I help you,” Cameron Black said answering a call at Alphapointe’s call center.

He can do plenty of things on his own at his job, with a special set up. But during a pandemic making sure he’s safe to come to work isn’t as easy as driving to the testing site near his job. Black is blind.

“If I did need a COVID test done and quickly I’d have to think of an extremely trusted sighted friend that I knew could do it or I’d have to find a ride to a CVS or Walgreens. I would not just be able to pick one up or have one mailed to me and do it myself,” he explained.

Black has been through the process of doing an at-home test when he wasn’t living on his own.

“You have to self administer it up the nostrils so that itself is a sensitive process so the integrity of the sample is maintained that its stored away properly. Then just the instructions alone to do all that were all in print.
Then there’s the problem of figuring out the results,” he said.

Nearly two years into the pandemic he says sadly he’s not surprised testing companies haven’t considered the 8 million blind Americans including 200,000 living in Kansas and Missouri. But says he hopes they do going forward as he and the rest of his Alphapointe co-workers try to do their part to end the pandemic too.

“There’s 300 plus blind people in this building  that are going to have a hard time getting tested or getting vaccinated or whatever the case may be. They will find a way to do it, but is definitely an arduous process,” Black said.

Right now it is unclear whether at-home tests being mailed by the federal government will have an accessible registration for the visually impaired.

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