‘Partying can affect your grandmother:’ Minority lawmakers discuss expanded COVID-19 test sites, impact on the African American community

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MOBILE COUNTY, Ala. (WKRG) — “Alabama is sick. Mobile County is sick. And a number of COVID-19 deaths are alarming in the African American community,” said Rep. Napoleon Bracy Jr.

A harsh reality that is very troubling in the fight against COVID-19.

“We realize how dangerous the coronavirus really is,” Senator Vivian Davis Figures said.

Friday, Mobile Democratic State Senate and House members discussed expanding COVID-19 testing sites.

“We are actually going to open a site at the Prichard Municipal Complex,” said Charles White, Chief Executive Officer at Franklin Primary Health Center.

And the virus impact on the African American community.

“We are 26 percent of the state’s population. Yet we are 52 percent of the COVID-19 deaths in the state and this week we were 66 percent of the deaths in Mobile County,” said Rep. Bracey Jr.

Now more than a month into the coronavirus crisis, minority lawmakers said they are still seeing irresponsible behavior like not practicing social distancing.

“The events that happened Easter weekend should not have happened. A party today can affect your grandmother,” said Rep. Bracy Jr.

And not wearing proper personal protective equipment.

“We can wear a mask not only to protect ourselves but to protect others,” said Rep. Barbara Drummond.

With talks about reopening Alabama’s economy soon, lawmakers fear this could potentially be a setback. Especially with the lack of COVID-19 resources in the African American community.

“We are afraid of that too. But that is why we are asking people to do it on their own. Because it’s giving people false security in terms of going out,” said Sen. Figures.

“I understand that the economy is suffering and a lot of people want to reopen, but what we have to realize here in the state of Alabama and also in Mobile County is that we have not even reached our peak yet,” said Rep. Bracy Jr.

The Franklin Primary Health Center will have another testing center open to the general public starting Monday at the Prichard Municipal Complex. This testing site will be appointment only and you will have to call the center’s hotline at 251-444-1122 to schedule.

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