COVID Testing Effort Focuses on Black Community in Miami

Miami-Dade County mobile testing van set up shop in Liberty City Friday to offer free testing, advice and gifts to a community hit hard by the coronavirus.

NBC Universal, Inc.

The toll from coronavirus, both economic and physical, is not being shared equally, researchers have found.

In Miami-Dade's Black community, an effort to bring testing to the community was underway Friday at Mount Cavalry Baptist Church in Liberty City.

Partnering with Miami-Dade County and the Health Foundation of South Florida, a group called Keeping the Faith is on a mission.

"The communities we’ve targeted with Keeping the Faith are low-income communities, disenfranchised communities, communities where there are higher incidences of COVID," project lead Phyllis Rhymes-Johnson said.

Assisted by the Black Nurses Association, among others, the group was collecting test samples and handing out gift cards, hand sanitizer, masks and advice on how to remain COVID-free.

"People in this community, we are at a higher incidence of dying of COVID-19," Rhymes-Johnson said.

The numbers bear that out.

A study by APM Research Lab finds Black people in Florida die at a much greater rate than those who are Hispanic and white. Per 100,000 population, 73 Black people die, compared to 58 Hispanic and 54 white. Adjusted for age, the disparity is even greater.

In Miami-Dade, the disparity is not as bad, perhaps because of efforts like those of Keeping the Faith.

"They need this, we need this, our community needs this," said Rhymes-Johnson. "Because we’re going to make our community healthy. We’re going to fight this COVID."

Experts say pre-existing conditions more prevalent in poorer communities play a big part in the disparity.

"If they have hypertension, diabetes other comorbidities that our people in the community have, we can help and help them to understand what the disease process is," Rhymes-Johnson said.

"We need to get control of this disease because so many lives have been taken unnecessarily because COVID was not controlled, measures were not adhered to," she said. "A lot of this could have been prevented if our government had listened to the scientists."

Contact Us