Community activist pleads for masks, walk-in coronavirus testing in West Louisville

Community activist pleads for masks, walk-in coronavirus testing in West Louisville

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As black Kentuckians die at higher rates from the coronavirus, one local activist tells WAVE 3 he doesn’t think communities of color are taking the pandemic seriously.

For Maurice Beckley, 65, contracting the coronavirus could be a death sentence.

Beckley has dialysis treatments up to three times a week that make his immune system more susceptible to COVID-19. For some time, Beckley has been wearing a mask and limiting his contacts to stay healthy. However, he believes people in the California neighborhood where he lives are not taking as much care.

“We’ve got to get masks on these people walking the street in the West End or there’s going to be a lot of sick people,” Beckley said. “It’s going to get out of hand and we won’t be able to go back to work.”

Beckley commends Mayor Greg Fischer, Gov. Andy Beshear and Louisville’s Metro Council for the work they’ve done but feels it’s not enough. Even with COVID-19 drive-through testing in nearby Shawnee Park, Beckley says he personally knows many people who don’t have access to computers to sign up or vehicles to get to the testing site. He believes those factors act as barriers to getting tested.

“The mayor and the governor ought to change it where they [patients] can walk up there and get their nose swabbed and go home,” he suggested.

Beckley is also calling on his community to come together and take care of their own, including seniors at high risk of complications from the virus and young people taking to the streets. The community activist is asking people to be open to the idea of a curfew.

“It might cut back on these kids killing each other, getting in trouble, hanging in crowds,” he said.

On multiple occasions, Beckley tells WAVE 3 he has seen people in West Louisville congregating without masks. He’s warning members of his community that those behaviors could put everyone at risk even beyond the spring.

“And we’ve got a second wave of this stuff coming, and we’re still not taking it seriously, and a lot of blacks are going to die,” he said.

Beckley is asking for mask donations in West Louisville and plans to personally distribute any masks he receives in an effort to keep people safe.

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