Local leaders comment on request for more COVID-19 testing in African American community

Local leaders comment on request for more COVID-19 testing in African American community
Data released by Mecklenburg County Friday shows that roughly 50 percent of the people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county are black. (Source: WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Data released by Mecklenburg County Friday shows that roughly 50 percent of the people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the county are black. The data released Friday evening shows that close to 31 percent of the people who have tested positive for the virus in Mecklenburg County are white and around 10 percent are Hispanic.

Earlier this week, pastors from across the Charlotte area sent a letter to Mecklenburg County manager Dena Diorio asking if mobile testing could be brought to the city’s African American communities.

“What we’re asking for, from a community standpoint is, ‘how do we marshal the resources to assist those who we already knew were the most vulnerable?’” said Jordan Boyd, the senior pastor at Rockwell AME Zion Church in Charlotte.

Vilma Leake, a member of the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners said she too has been asking about getting more COVID-19 testing in Charlotte.

“I have been asking for testing. Other members of the board have been asking for testing in the black community, so my question is, ‘what’s the problem?’” questioned Leake in a phone interview with WBTV Friday.

George Dunlap, the chairman of the Mecklenburg County Board of County Commissioners, explained that the hospital systems are responsible for working to set up testing sites.

“It is my understanding that the county manager and the hospitals have been in communication with each other and there will be some additional sites and they will look to locations in the African American community where those sites might be located,” explained Dunlap in an interview with WBTV.

The chairman of the board of county commissioners said he was unsure of the exact location of the testing sites.

“I know that they will be in an area where people have less of an ability to get to them,” said Dunlap.

It is unclear when the new testing sites will be up and running.

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