(Philadelphia, April 28, 2020): Philadelphia City Councilmember Kenyatta Johnson (Second District) is working with the new Philadelphia-area based Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to get the medical supplies needed to conduct this free, independent testing in as many of Philadelphia’s neighborhoods as possible.
Before testing began at the Yesha Ministries Worship Center at 2301 Snyder Avenue in South Philadelphia today, Councilman Johnson gave Dr. Ala Stanford, the Consortium’s founder, 1,000 KN95 masks donated by Hilco Redevelopment Partners, the Chicago-based company that is the new owner of the former Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery complex. The complex is located in the Councilman’s district.
“It is my pleasure to work with the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium to get more African-Americans in Philadelphia tested to see if they do or do not have the coronavirus,” Councilman Johnson said. “When I heard about the important work Dr. Stanford was doing, I immediately reached out to help her raise funds to purchase testing kits and I asked officials at Hilco Redevelopment Partners to make a donation and they agreed to donate these important KN95 masks to the cause. I want to thank Hilco for this generous contribution.”
Hilco’s donation of KN95 masks is believed to be one of the largest single donations of materials received by the Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium since it began testing people throughout the Greater Philadelphia region in mid-April. The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium is a partnership between doctors and churches in Philadelphia’s African-American neighborhoods.
A KN95 respirator is a respiratory protective device designed to achieve a very close facial fit and very efficient filtration of airborne particles. The ‘KN95’ designation means that when subjected to careful testing, the respirator blocks at least 95 percent of very small (0.3 microns) test particles. If properly fitted, the filtration capabilities of KN95 respirators exceed those of ordinary face masks.
The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium will distribute the KN95 masks to members of the public at testing sites to make sure Philadelphians have a high quality mask to fight the virus.
“The Consortium will help to distribute these masks to first responders and others who serve the public and are at-risk because of the scarcity of supplies,” said Dr. Ala Stanford. “We are grateful to Councilman Johnson for his awareness of the need of average people as we seek to make testing more pervasive and effective in our community.”
As of April 27, nearly 45 percent of the nearly 13,000 confirmed cases of COVID19 in Philadelphia are African-American, according to the Philadelphia Department of Health. Statistics also show that almost 54 percent of the nearly 500 Philadelphians who have died of the coronavirus so far are black. African-Americans make up about 43 percent of Philadelphia’s population.
The Black Doctors COVID-19 Consortium is made up of 30 doctors, nurses and assistants with the ultimate goal of testing 1,000 people a week. The group targets some of the most statistically at-risk ZIP codes in the city, including neighborhoods in the South and Southwest portions of Councilman Johnson’s district.
The Consortium’s testing program does not require a doctor’s referral and there is no age limit. Testing is open to those who have symptoms associated with COVID-19 or have been exposed to someone who tested positive within the last 14 days. People who are tested should receive their results in three to five days.
People are urged to register for testing in advance. To register for testing, visit realconciergemedicine.com.
The testing site at Yesha Ministries Worship Center came as a result of a partnership between Councilman Johnson, Pennsylvania State Sen. Anthony Williams, Pennsylvania State Rep. Jordan Harris, community leader Anton Moore, Unity in the Community and Dove Daily Care.
Photos for this article were provided by Jared Piper/Philadelphia City Council