Black doctors' group wins city contract to give free COVID-19 tests in Philadelphia

Philadelphia city officials said that the city will fund efforts by the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to provide free testing in neighborhoods hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic, The Philadelphia Inquirer reports. 

Last month, Mayor Jim Kenney's administration appeared to be disinclined to fund the consortium's efforts. Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, MD, told city council members at a May 27 budget hearing that the city already had contracts with two other healthcare providers for testing.

"We think [the consortium's work] is great," Dr. Farley said, according to the Inquirer. But, "it wasn't like they were the only organization that was offering testing to African Americans," he added.

City Council members sharply criticized the health commissioner's comments.

The mayor and health commissioner pledged to fund the consortium's efforts June 9.

"It's especially important for us to make testing incredibly easy for African American populations," Dr. Farley said, according to the Inquirer. "So the Black Doctors Consortium has shown that they know how to do that. They take testing to where the people are."

The consortium, created in April, aims to provide COVID 19 testing, advocacy and education for African Americans in Philadelphia. It's tested more than 5,000 residents in partnership with black churches, the Inquirer reports.

More articles on public health:
WHO official clarifies comments on asymptomatic spread of COVID-19
COVID-19 activity by region: Cases ramp up in rural areas
10 states with fastest, slowest COVID-19 spread: June 10

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