BALTIMORE (WBFF) — As the COVID-19 continues to hit Maryland’s African American community especially hard, one candidate for Baltimore City Council President is calling on Governor Hogan to implement universal testing.
Carl Stokes made the plea Friday morning saying the Governor should do the same for the African American population as he has for those in nursing homes.
“Many more African Americans are being impacted and infected by this disease,” Stokes said. “I’m asking the Governor to issue an executive order.”
According to state health data, 10,165 African Americans have tested positive for COVID-19 across the state, compared to 6,695 white people. Deaths however are about the same, 595 African Americans compared to 598 white people.
“I don’t think it’s an issue necessarily of race,” Stokes said. “It’s an economic issue. A social economic issue.”
Community advocates believe the black community has a harder time getting tested for COVID-19 because of lack of healthcare providers.
“I have senior citizens who don’t have doctors, especially in a neighborhood that does not have a health clinic,” activist Marvin “Doc” Cheatham said. “You can not wait to get tested with a referral from a doctor if in fact you don’t have a doctor.”
That’s why Stokes believes the state should partner with local pharmacies to distribute and administer the tests.
“There are pharmacies on every other corner in the city, even in the most impacted communities,” Stokes said. “It is the way to make sure that the breakout doesn’t spread to the larger community, black, white and brown.”
FOX45 reached out to Governor Larry Hogan’s office to see if universal testing of African Americans is something being considered, we have not yet received a response.