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From the desk of Sen. Margie Bright Matthews

There have been many definitive studies showing the disparity in how Covid-19 affects people from low-economic and minority communities. Some of the notable causes have been the comorbidity issues suffered by Blacks.  Others have reference the lack of preventative healthcare due in part to his country’s failure to provide adequate healthcare to persons living in rural communities.  Either way, this pandemic has magnified America’s failure to fully addressed the healthcare of its citizens.  One’s socio-economic status should not dictate the degree and standard of healthcare they receive.

The reason this failing will impact all sectors of society is simple.  When those on the frontline, such as, doctors, nurses, first responders, hospital support staff, and essential workers, are not all receiving the same access to healthcare as well as protective gear, the infections will continue to cycle. The infection rate will continue to compound exponentially. For example, when that ER nurse swings by the store after a long shift to pick up much needed groceries, she comes into contact most often with the grocery store clerk that is not wearing adequate PPE’s and thus may have been exposed to others throughout the day.  What happens when that cashier transmits the virus to not only this nurse but others that have come through her line?  This could simply be by passing the receipt, providing change or touching the food. 

The point is, in order to protect the frontline workers, we must also concentrate on providing PPEs as well as testing to the necessary workers.  Should an employer, who is operating as an essential provider, be required to provide PPEs to his employees?  Should these workers be tested before being permitted to work?  These essential services require the commitment of dedicated workers. They deserve our protections.  Protect them so they can protect all of us.

Our healthcare systems are being strained now because of access deficiencies in rural communities.  We have asked for increased testing to address these deficiencies. In response, MUSC and Fetter Health will be conducting extensive free testing in rural areas.  On May 7, 2020 and May 8, 2020 from 10am-3pm at CC Blaney Elementary School in Hollywood, SC testing will be conducted. There is absolutely no requirement for testing.  You can be both symptom free as well as insurance free and you will be tested.  I took the test myself and it was not as invasive as some portrayed it to be. The Fetter Health testing locations are up and running through Charleston, Dorchester and Berkeley Counties. 

I encourage each of you to have the COVID-19 test.  Encourage these essential workers to wear PPEs while on the job.  Distance yourself from those courageous folks who refuse to wear a mask.

God Bless and keep each of you.


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