Springfield City Councilor Jesse Lederman, Melvin Edwards, Adam Gomez, and Victor Davila will file a resolution urging the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to make additional free testing sites available in Springfield and Western Massachusetts as underway in the eastern part of the state.
“The regional disparity in resources to combat COVID-19 has been evident in other phases of the pandemic, and continues now,” said At-Large City Councilor Jesse Lederman, “We saw this same disparity when we fought for access to testing for the homeless, and now the free testing sites being established for the general public do not include any in our area.”
Councilor Lederman, the lead sponsor, says that all areas with high populations of at-risk individuals and areas where individuals income may present a barrier to access testing should be prioritized for free and accessible testing.
“The pandemic is not over. If financial and socio-economic barriers exist that stop individuals from getting tested then we will not have a realistic picture of the actual status of the virus in our communities,” said Councilor Lederman.
“The state needs to realize that there is a world outside of the Greater Boston area,” said Ward 3 City Councilor Melvin Edwards, “What Eastern Massachusetts has, Western Massachusetts should also have access to as well."
“It’s time for free testing sites in at-risk areas across the entire state. Representing one of the most at-risk communities, this is of great concern to me,” said Ward 1 City Councilor Adam Gomez, “The Governor’s current plan leaves behind all of the communities west of I-495. Regional economic and health disparities show the truth – that western mass again is left behind.”
“Testing is of critical importance to defeat this pandemic,” said Ward 6 City Councilor Victor Davila, “It should be widely available at no cost. Otherwise, the human and financial cost will be huge.”
Through the resolution Councilors hope the City Council will join the voices of other Western Massachusetts representatives including the legislative delegation and public health experts that have raised concerns regarding the omission of Western Mass cities and towns from this resource, and will move for a copy of the resolution to be sent to state and federal officials upon passage.
The resolution will be filed for the July 20th Council agenda.