Boston to Expand Coronavirus Testing Across City to ‘Address Inequities'

The city disclosed new racial data on the coronavirus Wednesday

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Boston Mayor Marty Walsh on Wednesday said the city was expanding testing for the new coronavirus in hard-hit areas in a bid to address inequities exposed by the pandemic.

In a news conference, Walsh said a testing site at Suffolk Downs in East Boston for first responders would begin testing residents as well starting Friday.

In addition, the Whittier Street Health Center in Roxbury will expand its testing schedule and offer more tests starting this week. Codman Square Health Center in Dorchester will offer expanded access to tests by the weekend, the mayor said.

The Brigham And Women's primary care facility in Hyde Park would begin offering testing as well, Walsh said.

"In Boston, we're putting equity at the core of our response," he said in a news conference. "We're making sure our hardest-hit communities have access to information, testing and the care they need."

Health officials have reported 4,286 cases of COVID-19 in Boston, including 84 fatal cases.

Walsh said the city had enough confirmed cases to begin disclosing racial and ethnicity data without exposing private information.

Of the city's fatal cases whose races were known, 33% were white people, followed by black people at 29%, Walsh said. Fifteen percent were Asian Pacific Islanders and 14% were Latino. Nine percent identified as other races, the mayor said.

"It's important that we share these numbers so we can get messaging to the communities," he said.

In addition to expanded testing, Walsh said his administration would increase its outreach efforts to various communities.

Walsh also asked people to stay home Wednesday, which marks the seventh anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombings. Dubbed One Boston Day, the anniversary is typically marked by gatherings and service projects aimed at honoring the victims of the bombing and reflecting on the city's resiliency in its aftermath.

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