HOUSTON - A new COVID-19 testing site is opening on Monday in Houston's southside. Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee helped open the site and says it is part of a greater effort to reach more minority communities.
In Houston, as of Saturday, 57 percent of all the COVID-19 deaths were African Americans. All had underlying health conditions.
It's the same trend other cities across the country are reporting. In Chicago, the city's mayor announced this week African Americans accounted for 72 percent of COVID-19 deaths, but only 30 percent of the city's population.
"The overall disparities that we face over healthcare, in income, in access to healthcare," said Jackson-Lee listing the reasons why minority communities are being disproportionately impacted.
She believes more testing targeting minority communities is needed.
"People need to understand that when you focus on some of the more vulnerable groups, it helps the broader nation, the broader Houston, the broader Harris County," Jackson-Lee noted.
The new testing site is at Cullen Middle School located at 6900 Scott Street. On Monday it will open at noon but will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, thereafter.
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On the city's northeast side, Forest Brook Middle School located at 7525 Tidwell Road is still open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Both are free and people do not need to pre-register. For a list of other testing sites, click here.
Jackson-Lee refutes claims that the people are not taking advantage of the Forest Brook Middle School testing site. She says they test 200 people a day.
"All we have to do is continue to let people know that it is open," she added. "I would say that I'm sure there's some hesitancy, no one likes to be hospitalized, no one likes to think that they are sick."
So far, the State of Texas has incomplete data about who is dying and testing positive for the virus.
Jackson-Lee says she's pushing for the State to gather and report on data on race and other demographics. She says it will help save lives now and in future health crises.
"Numbers, data are very important. We're going to put that funding in the next stimulus package," she told FOX 26.