The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium has pioneered access to coronavirus testing in Philadelphia’s neighborhoods hit hardest by the pandemic. Their mission to test, advocate and educate African American communities has become a life-saving endeavor.
And this afternoon, they received some much-needed support.
Mayor Jim Kenney joined Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium’s Dr. Ala Stanford, Health Commissioner Dr. Tom Farley and local elected officials at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church to announce funding that allows neighborhoods hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic to increase testing for the virus.
“I want to say very directly today to Philadelphia’s Mayor Jim Kenney and to the Health Department Director Dr. Farley—that there is never a wrong time to do the right thing,” said Cherelle Parker, 9th District Councilwoman. “We want to thank you so very much by acknowledging in a very substantive way that not only do Black Lives Matter to you but these black and brown people—in particular the African American community that has been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19—by ensuring that they get tested.”
According to the Mayor’s Office of Communications, the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium received the first award of funding to increase testing capabilities based “on their ability to reach people where they are for testing via a mobile setup, test many people in a short amount of time, and have the full trust of people being tested.”
The organization successfully created a mobile testing operation for the COVID-19 virus, allowing them to administer tests to communities that do not readily have access, as well as provide PPE and educational materials.
“Dr. Stanford—and I want to say this out loud and in front of everyone—you along with the COVID-19 Black Doctors Consortium, we refer to you as the Harriet Tubman of coronavirus testing. That’s what you are here in the City of Philadelphia,” said Parker.
African American communities throughout the city have been hit hardest by the pandemic, which has infected 23,822 Philadelphians.
The Department of Public Health announced an additional 131 confirmed cases of coronavirus on Tuesday, and 11 additional fatalities in Philadelphia, bringing the number of residents who have succumbed to the virus to 1,425. There are 340 patients with COVID-19 currently being treated in Philadelphia hospitals.
City officials are continuing to urge those who recently attended a protest to closely monitor themselves for any symptoms of coronavirus, including fever, cough and difficulty breathing, for 14 days. Due to the large crowds that have gathered throughout the city, demonstrators—even those wearing a mask—may have been exposed to the virus. Protesters should get tested 7 days after being in a large crowd.
To find a free coronavirus test in Philadelphia, visit phila.gov/testing. To reach the Greater Philadelphia Coronavirus Helpline, call 1-800-722-7112.