PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium hosted a free testing clinic Monday at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church. The group is motivated to provide testing in underserved communities.
Chopper 3 flew over a long line of social distancing Philadelphia residents that wrapped around the church.
Hundreds showed up for a community-organized COVID-19 testing site.
“African Americans are dying from coronavirus in Philadelphia at a rate of about 52%. In other cities, some as high as 70%,” Dr. Ala Stanford said.
Pediatric surgeon and health care advocate Dr. Stanford helped organize a group called Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium.
The group chose to set up in this East Mount Airy and West Oak Lane neighborhoods, because they say it’s one of the hardest-hit zip codes, with one of the highest percentages of COVID-19 positive rates and death.
They ordered 350 testing kits through their private practices but they ran out before the 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. testing site timeframe.
Dr. Stanford says this site was about breaking down barriers.
“Probably one of the biggest ones we found in North Philadelphia is that people were taking multiple buses, subways, trains to get to testing sites only to be turned away because they were not in a car,” she said. “So they were only accepting people that were in cars and not people on foot.”
This is the third testing site in the last four days.
The first was a mobile testing site where doctors drove to about 20 residents’ homes on Thursday. The second site was on Saturday at Miller Memorial Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.
Testing is for all ages but only for those who have symptoms or who have been in contact with someone who tested positive in the past 14 days. A doctor’s note is needed.
Dr. Stanford says for her and the dozens of other volunteers, their efforts are rewarding.
“It’s magnificent. People, you want to hug them, but we’re not hugging. They’re telling me how grateful they are, how proud they are, how much they appreciate us being out here,” she said. “I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.”
Dr. Stanford says her group needs more personal protective equipment to be able to continue to the next testing site, which will be on Wednesday in a different location.