Governor calls out racial disparities amid pandemic

Posted at 9:14 PM, May 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-21 21:14:00-04

COLUMBUS — The data and history is clear, black people are being diagnosed with the coronavirus more than their white counterparts.

“Health disparities did not occur overnight,” said Governor Mike Dewine. "They are complex and present complex challenges. The current coronavirus pandemic has brought into light.”

DeWine spent most of Thursday’s news conference addressing those disparities, then talked about what we need to do now.

"To truly change things, we must address the social conditions that drive 70% of our health outcomes,” he said. "Things such as health care access, so very, very important. Education so very important. As well as housing, transportation, employment, availability of nutritious food gathering and using data is key to understanding the problem. It's also key to finding the solutions.”

The governor started a minority strike task force last month, made up of 41 leaders across our state with ties to minority communities.

They were tasked with helping to work towards a solution.

In their preliminary report that is expected to come out Thursday, they recommend more pointed messaging about the pandemic geared directly to African Americans.

They want more testing to be available in black communities and they want those test to be accessible and well as good healthcare options.

The strike force also wants to see collaboration between their agency and others.

"You cannot talk about messaging, testing, accessibility and collaboration without dollars, so data drives dollars,” said Yvonka Hall, the executive director of the Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition.

Hall is not on the strike force, but has been in touch with some of its members who she speaks of highly.

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