Testing Arrives for Charlotte Mecklenburg’s Northwest Corridor
By Rev. Glencie Rhedrick
Growing concern regarding the Covid19 pandemic prompted local ministers to approach County Commissioners regarding the lack of testing sites accessible to the Black community in the county’s northwest corridor. The discussion ultimately resulted with Novant scheduling an on-site mobile unit on First Baptist Church-West campus for 6 hours Thursday, April 16th.
As of April 16, these zip codes 28208,28215, 28216, 28213 and 28269 reportedly have over 50% cases of impacted citizens with COVID-19 virus. As of April 16, the city reported 1136 cases of the virus and 24 deaths. Mecklenburg County reported 1098. These numbers suggest a real need for the availability of testing sites.
Based on the following statistics African American residents in Charlotte NC during the 2010 census represented 32.9% of the population and more recently as of April 16, 2020, the African American residents are 48.8 % of the population. One may wonder why these numbers are important in that 41.3% of the 48.8% residents have been exposed to the COVID19 virus? So based on these facts, African American in Charlotte Mecklenburg appear to be disproportionately infected.
Three persons shared their experiences, two of them were turned away due to their not being symptomatic, however they believed it necessary to come due to their pre-disposed heart issues.
The third person, Rev. Dr. Cassandra Jones, “my pulmonary physician only has critical care patients and he advised ALL of us to get tested. However, there were some who were told didn’t “qualify.” That was not my experience. I was concerned about being tested because of a dry cough I‘ve had and because I am a level 4 chronic asthmatic.” When Dr. Jones arrived for testing, she shared it was uncomfortable, but each person was friendly and encouraged her through every step of the test. “I am thankful I was able to be tested and with good news I don’t have the virus.”
As a result of these growing numbers many are soon to be victims of COVID19 unless more testing sights are made available for persons with pre-disposed health issues and who are over the age of 60 years old can be tested. In addition, to where they reside and with whom they meet increased considerations should be given in order to include these groups in the testing for the virus.
Why, then should it be necessary for residents of Charlotte Mecklenburg, who are systemically underserved and disadvantaged to be the last to have access to the testing?
About the contributing writer
Rev. Glencie Rhedrick, M.S. M.DIV., BCC / Co-Chair, Charlotte Clergy Coalition for Justice
Chair, Social Justice for United Missionary Baptist Association / Former President Mecklenburg Ministries / RevG4MecMin@gmail.com / http://www.charlotteclergycoalition.org / www.umbacharlotte.org / www.meckmin.org / 980-202-9866