Baskin Provides Update on COVID-19 Response, Sets Priorities for This Week

Advocates for creation of an East Side COVID-19 drive through test location pursues racial demographic date from the New York State Department of Health; Asks NFTA to curb abuse of free travel on public transportation with creation of essential worker pass

Last week  many members of the East Side Community reached out to Erie County Legislature Chair April N.M. Baskin with their COVID-19 concerns. During last Thursday’s meeting of the legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee, she pushed for answers from the Erie County Department of Health. She also forged partnerships with local Physicians of Color, and spread the word about the healthcare disparities plaguing our community.

“It is clear that our community has to take the initiative to protect ourselves and our loved ones from COVID-19,” said Legislature Chair Baskin. “But our institutions must still play a role. I am asking that leadership at our local and state levels step up their efforts to save lives.”

Her priorities for this week include:

•Identifying and confirming a testing site for essential workers on Buffalo’s East Side.     Chair Baskin submitted a formal resolution demanding we prioritize the essential workers in zip codes highly impacted by COVID-19 positive cases.

“I am calling for the creation of a drive-through testing site on Buffalo’s East Side, which is home to a large number of first responders and health care employees,” said Baskin. “We must have a site that is easily accessible to the essential employees who live in the 14215, 14211 and 14208 zip codes.”

 •Securing New York State’s release of specific COVID-19 racial impact data. 

New York State maintains racial demographic data as it applies to COVID-19. Chair Baskin sent a letter to the Governor and State Health Department requesting that they make this data available to the public on a regular basis.   Baskin asked, “How can we prove our impoverished community’s dire need for testing and plan for better healthcare measures without the current data? I am asking New York State to provide this information on a regular basis. Poor and low income communities are on the frontline of this fight and information is the key to saving lives.”

•Creation of essential worker pass for public transportation. Staying home saves lives. With this in mind, Chair Baskin submitted a formal resolution requesting the NFTA create an essential worker pass to limit public transportation travels to only those who are deemed essential and requested a meeting with the NFTA leadership.