PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium continued its important work throughout Philadelphia’s communities on Saturday afternoon. The group held its 37th free testing site for people with coronavirus symptoms at the Mander Recreation Center in North Philadelphia.

The mission of the consortium is to provide advocacy for the Black community amid the pandemic, which has affected African American and Hispanic people disproportionately in the number of infections and severe outcomes.

“Today, we are testing in a place where I was born and raised, which I love, North Philadelphia,” Dr. Ala Stanford, a pediatric surgeon and Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium founder, said. “This zip code [19121], and specifically in North Philadelphia, is one of our hardest-hit zip codes, and we know that African Americans have this disease and are dying at a greater rate. Most recently, 80.4 per 100,000 deaths in African Americans compared to 35.9 per 100,000 white so that’s greater than two times the death. That’s why we’re here because this community is primarily African American.”

(Credit: CBS3)

“What we’re doing today is bringing that testing format into neighborhoods. The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium has done an also job,” Council President Darrell Clarke said.

The group has tested more than 8,000 Philadelphia residents since March.

Also in Philadelphia on Saturday, the sheriff’s office partnered with various local community groups to ensure residents have the food they need during the pandemic.

Families received boxes filled with food and fresh produce at the Cobbs Creek Community Environmental Center on Saturday afternoon. Future food giveaway events are planned.

“We know that families need food, especially when you’re out of work and you don’t have money to buy food so we partnered with Caring For Friends to basically give food to the communities that need,” Sheriff Rochelle Bilal said.

Pennsylvania health officials announced 813 additional COVID-19 cases on Saturday, bringing the statewide total to 118,092. Philadelphia saw an increase of 146 COVID-19 cases, officials said.

“As the state has put in place targeted mitigation efforts to offset recent case increases, we must renew our commitment to protecting against COVID-19 by wearing a mask, practicing social distancing and following the requirements set forth in the orders for bars and restaurants, gatherings and telework,” Secretary of Health Dr. Rachel Levine said. “Pennsylvania has been a model for the country on how to reopen effectively using a careful, measured approach. However, we know the virus has not gone away as we see cases rise, so we must work together to stop another surge.”