Less than one percent of people who live in District 9 have gotten tested for COVID-19. Meanwhile, last week the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health identified 1,715 positive cases of COVID-19 and 51 deaths in my District, which has a population of more than 270,000. As of May 17, approximately 2,108 District 9 residents had been tested for COVID-19.
As my office continues to monitor the damage COVID-19 is doing to the 9th District and beyond, I cannot get my head around the “one percent” stat. This is unacceptable but unfortunately the numbers don’t lie. The lives of minority groups are under attack and our future is threatened. For this reason, I am launching an education and outreach campaign to have 90 percent of CD 9 tested! Some might find it impossible, I say, it is absolutely necessary; especially now that we have begun our recovery journey.
The City of Los Angeles has entered into phase 2 of reopening daily life. Testing also has an important role to play to track and monitor the virus. With so many of our community composed of “essential” employees that earn low-wages, many do not have the luxury of staying home during this time. Truth is, going to work and not getting tested will have a catastrophic impact on our community.
Earlier this month, I led a virtual conversation with medical and immigrant rights experts to shed light on the impact the coronavirus is having on minority communities. The livestream, titled “What’s Race and Ethnicity Got to Do With It?”, was broadcast on May 7 from my Facebook page (@CurrenDPriceJr) and LA Cityview channel 35. If you missed it, you can watch it by following this link:https://tinyurl.com/yc8jb4dt
The virtual discussion included speakers from the LA County Department of Public Health, Keck School of Medicine of USC, St. John’s Well Child & Family Center, Kedren Community Health Center and the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA).
I organized the online discussion because our neighbors need to know that COVID-19 is impacting black and brown communities at higher rates than others; the disparities are very real. Chronic health conditions such as high blood pressure, asthma and diabetes are in direct proportion with the long standing social and racial inequalities experienced in underserved communities. And these chronic conditions have been a fertile breeding ground for the coronavirus.
Knowing the information is not good enough, we need to take deliberate action if we are to protect our families and community and it all starts with testing. I’m urging you today to take the steps to get tested. Insist that your loved ones get tested. Encourage your neighbors and friends about getting tested. We have been armed with the information from health experts that getting tested will help preserve our present and future livelihoods.
In case you were not aware, FREE COVID-19 testing is available to all LA City and LA County residents whether or not you’re experiencing symptoms. Priority for the same or next day testing is still given to people with symptoms, such as fever, cough, shortness of breath, chills, muscle pain, headaches, sore throat, or a new loss of sense of smell. Testing is also prioritized for certain critical front-line workers who interact with the public while working. Because testing is such an important tool in the battle to control this virus, you may be encouraged to be tested at different intervals before a vaccine is available. Moreover, you should seek available testing and treatment, regardless of immigration status, without fear of arrest or deportation.
Today, testing is available at dozens of locations all over our County. In District 9, we have four locations and they include:
I cannot stress enough how important it is for Black and Latino communities to get tested for COVID-19. I took the test myself recently, and although it might seem intimidating, the process is easy and it takes less than 1 minute to do. Once completed, the results will be available within a few days. Whatever the result, positive or negative, the difference to not do it could mean life or death.
Lastly, my office has been able to distribute more than 20,000 masks to help medical workers, essential workers and members of the community continue to move throughout each day with protection. If you or someone you know is in need of a mask, or have questions about COVID-19 testing in South LA, please contact my District Office at (323) 846-2651. Be safe, stay strong and look out for your neighbors. Together, we will get through this dark period in history.