Latino Community in MoCo Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19

On Tuesday, July 14, Action in Montgomery leaders held a joint press conference with County Councilmembers Navarro and Albornoz, drawing County Executive Elrich’s attention to the glaring disparity in COVID-19 testing access in Montgomery County’s Latino communities.

Latino residents account for 74% of new COVID-19 cases in Montgomery County in June. Only two testing sites exist in the four zip codes in MoCo with the highest concentrations of COVID-19 cases.

A number of AIM congregations have offered their outdoor properties to county officials to serve as community testing sites. AIM is working with Montgomery County officials to create additional testing sites on congregation-owned properties.

As Pastor Charles Tapp of Sligo Seventh-day Adventist Church reminded us during the press conference last night, when the least of us are unwell, the rest of us—like the Good Samaritan—have to do our part.

Watch Fox5 Coverage

Read Washington Post Coverage

AIM leader Elizabeth de Garcia of Cider Mill Apartments and St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church is quoted in this Washington Post article.

It would be ideal to have testing sites at institutions that communities know and trust, de Garcia said. But she’s skeptical it will happen.

“When they need us, we are everything for the county,” she said Monday, as she soothed her crying 3-year-old son. “When we need from them, we don’t exist.”

“It is ridiculous we saw a written plan for the first time five months into this situation.”
—Councilman Gabe Albornoz during AIM’s July 14 press conference, describing Montgomery County’s inaction to date on addressing health disparities highlighted by the COVID-19 pandemic