Dear Governor DeSantis,
Thank you for your leadership during this extremely difficult time for our community. We are acutely aware of how challenging it can be to navigate an unprecedented crisis. We appreciate your work to continue expanding testing in Florida – and commend you for working with Miami-Dade County to introduce walk-thru testing.
The spread of COVID-19 in the United States has intensified the grave socioeconomic and racial disparities present in our communities. Across the country, data has shown that this virus is disproportionately impacting the older adult population and communities of color, as evidenced by the number of infections and deaths affecting African-Americans and Latinos.
This week, we saw the number of cases and deaths rise in Florida. With nearly 28,000 known cases and close to 900 lives lost, COVID-19 is wreaking havoc at an unprecedented rate.
The risks to our nation remain troubling – many models suggest that 3% of our country is infected, with 10% being the highest estimates. That leaves possibly 300 million people uninfected – more than 90% percent of Americans are still at risk of infection
With widespread testing necessary to reopen our economy, our testing strategy should continue to prioritize wider accessibility. Over 90,000 households in Miami-Dade County do not own a vehicle and 36% of our essential workers depend on public transportation to get to work and serve our community – putting them at greater risk of contracting the virus.
We, the undersigned organizations, support expansions to testing that allows access to residents without vehicles, which could include:
- Allowing pedestrian access to more current test sites and all future test sites
- Ensure healthcare workers are protected with adequate PPE for them and those being tested
- As testing capacity increases – expand eligibility for at-home testing and adopt mobile testing in areas that have low vehicle ownership and high-nee
As we continue to expand accessible testing, we hope for an ongoing collaboration with our local leaders to determine the areas of greatest need and the selection of accessible test sites. On the last page of this letter, we have included data that can help guide this collaboration.
Across the globe, countries have been successful at containing the virus by being proactive in expanding the reach of their testing. It is of utmost importance that all residents - regardless of age, ability, socioeconomic background, and legal status - have access to proper preventative medical care at this pivotal moment.
We thank you for your leadership and support during this time of great uncertainty.
Transit Alliance Miami
Community Justice Project
Family Action Network Movement (FANM)
Florida Health Justice Project
Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC)
Gray Panthers of South Dade
Health Council of South Florida
Health Foundation of South Florida
Miami Homes for All
The Miami Foundation
United Way of Miami-Dade
Urban Health Partnerships
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez
Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners
State Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez
State Senator Manny Diaz Jr.
State Senator Jason Pizzo
State Senator Annette Taddeo