San Francisco Supervisor Shamann Walton on Friday joined the San Francisco National Association for the Advancement of Colored People to discuss legislation he's introduced in order to protect the city's communities of color from the novel coronavirus.
According to Walton, whose district includes the Bayview and Hunters Point neighborhoods, communities of color in San Francisco face higher risk of getting COVID-19 due to already-existing health and economic disparities, and the city should be doing more to help them.
"We're here today to continue to call out the Department of Public Health and let them know that they have not demonstrated the concern for the black population that we need them to do," Walton said.
"Unfortunately, our governmental systems have been unwilling or ill-equipped to address the health crisis of African Americans," NAACP San Francisco Rev. Amos Brown said.
"We feel this is the moment for San Francisco to step up to the plate and prove it knows how to do the right thing and to make sure that through this COVID-19 crisis, that African Americans receive the testing as outlined by Supervisor Walton," he said.
Last month the Department of Public Health released information on its website about cases in the city, including the number of cases by ZIP code. The data showed areas with the most cases included South of Market, Mission, Bayview and Hunters Point.
Walton's resolution seeks asymptomatic pop-up testing in ZIP codes with the most COVID-19 cases; more field care clinics in those areas; the deployment of personal protective equipment for workers and residents in susceptible areas; additional resources for outreach; and taking all homeless people in susceptible areas off the streets and placing them in hotels.
"If we know where the highest number of cases exist, if we know where the disparities and disproportionality exist, then we need to do everything we can to make sure that it doesn't continue. We need the department of Public Health to step up and care about black people," Walton said.
On Wednesday, city officials announced a new site at Pier 94 for homeless residents in the Bayview and Hunters Point neighborhoods, consisting of 120 recreational vehicles and trailers. Additionally, the city has increased test access by opening several sites for testing and screening, including a field care facility at the Southeast Health Center.