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Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas Visits Martin Luther King Jr., Testing Center to Provide Safety Kits for the Community
By Khari Jones, Jr., Contributing Writer
Published August 13, 2020

MLK Community Hospital continues to ensure the community has what it needs to fight COVID-19.

The Martin Luther King Jr., community hospital is now operating at high-quality services to help an underserved community. United Health Care donated 10,000 COVID safety kits to the MLK outpatient center. Those safety kits contain hand sanitizers, masks, hand tools, toilet paper, and educational materials on how to stay safe during the Coronavirus.

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Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas said Black people and Latinos had been disproportionately impacted. When studies first came out, it was addressed as being a White person’s disease.

Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas stands with doctors and officials during testing site visit (Courtesy Photo)

“Obviously that’s not the case. We have to step up, step forward, and make sure we correct that issue. Over 60,000 were tested in phase 1, and we’re moving onto phase 2. We expect to do more and do it better.” The disproportionality became apparent, and it affects everyone.

Supervisor Thomas said they would deal with this in a culturally competent way. They will test and treat as the demand requires. “We want to encourage families to take advantage of this because of how important it is,” notes Thomas. Testing is critically important to the health and well-being of families, and they will not leave until the job is done, Thomas implies.

Community members in line to be tested for COVID-19. (Courtesy Photo)

He says, “Seven days a week, we will be here. Walk up, take your test, and we will take it from there.” The goal is to help alleviate some of the stress caused by the Coronavirus, states Thomas.

Senior Vice President of the United Health Group, Margaret Kelly, said with the items they are providing and safety kits, some families cannot continue to buy masks or have to reuse masks. They hope to have provided solutions with their efforts to help keep the community safe. Kelly mentioned their partnership with the county of L.A., is long-lasting, and they are pleased to be a part of this change.

City officials talking amongst one another before speaking to the press. (Courtesy Photo)

Latinos and African-American have been ignored by most of the corporations and foundations, according to Arturo Ybarra, who is the founder and executive director of Watts/Century Latino Organization. He notes Latinos and African Americans are sometimes reluctant to take the services to prevent severe illnesses like breast cancer, prostate cancer, and many other diseases.

“We need further education and information to convince this sector of our population to come and start their treatment. We have to convince our people to get healed,” states Ybarra.

City officials visiting different testing sites at the Martin Luther King Jr., campus. (Courtesy Photo)

Every community-based organization has to do its job to educate its people and be in conjunction with elected officials, states Ybarra. He notes that corporations have to open their pockets to provide resources for a healthy community. Ybarra says they will have to eventually go door-to-door to inform people of the seriousness of the other pandemic, such as breast cancer and prostate cancer, to start the community’s general healing.

“In the spirit of multicultural unity, the race is irrelevant for us. After all, we are a single-family worldwide,” states Ybarra.

Supervisor Mark-Ridley-Thomas stands with officials at the testing site. (Courtesy Photo)

The message is that the testing is available, confidential and free, said Yolanda Vera, the MLK Outpatient chief executive officer. She notes that the county is doing all they can to tackle the community’s problem, given the high rates of positive COVID-19 results.

“Supervisor Ridley chose the campus to highlight the Dept. of Health Services and other partners’ work. We want to make it as simple as possible for folks to walk up and get tested. It’s a big push for what we’re trying to do with our partners, educational partners across the street, and community hospitals to combat this virus.”

Safety kits getting distributed to the community. (Courtesy Photo)

Categories: Family | Health
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