Pa. adds LGBT data collection to COVID-19 testing

Cherri Gregg
May 15, 2020 - 10:58 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Gov. Tom Wolf announced this week that Pennsylvania will now include LGBT-specific information as part of its COVID-19 data collection. The move comes just as the LGBT-focused Mazzoni Center adds coronavirus testing to its roster of health services.

After getting testing supplies and PPE, and developing safety protocols, the nonprofit health and wellness center is now an LGBT-friendly testing site.

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"Some folks might not feel comfortable going to other places,” Chief Medical Officer Nancy Brisbon said. "Many LGBTQ people have experienced discrimination in a health care setting — judgment about their lives and/or who they are. And at Mazzoni, we don't do that."

The Pennsylvania Department of Health began collecting race and ethnicity data after racial disparities were revealed during the pandemic. Now it will expand the effort to include sexual orientation and gender identity. 

In his announcement, Wolf said that collecting the additional data will help ensure that everyone experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 in Pennsylvania has equal access to diagnostic testing. 

"I'm a little disappointed that it's taken so long for that data to be included, but I am encouraged that we are moving forward,” Brisbon said.

Testing is available by appointment at the Mazzoni Center on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.