Last spring, Oakland leaders launched an emergency Task Force to develop Rapid Response strategies and longer-term recommendations for action and best practices to reduce disparities.
The COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force brings together leaders, practitioners, community organizations, health clinics, philanthropy and local government to develop an immediate response to the disparate impacts of the virus. People of color, particularly African Americans, Latino/a/ix, Asian Americans, and Native American residents, including those experiencing poverty, immigrants, elders, people with disabilities, those in congregate care, formerly incarcerated, and unsheltered have been hit hard by the virus. The rate of infection among Latinos is twice any other group and African-Americans are dying at twice their population in Alameda County. This is unacceptable.
Supervisor Chan, Health Committee Chair for Alameda County Board of Supervisors, said, “We must protect our most vulnerable populations during this epidemic including addressing head-on the issues of health disparities. federal, state, regional and local partners need to be proactive in providing immediate and upstream interventions for those most in danger of illness and morbidity.”
“African Americans and other Americans of color have been the victims of enduring policy violence for generations,” Dr. Tony Iton, Sr. VP of the California Endowment and Task Force CoChair said. “Undoing the effects of that violence will take a sustained and concerted effort to reweave our frayed American social contract and create inclusive and equitable policy. We know what we have to do. The doing starts now.”
While work on Rapid Response strategies continues, beginning in September, the Task Force is considering what policies, best practices, lessons learned, and recommended actions can reduce disparities.
“The virus does not discriminate but it does devastate some races more than others,” Mayor Libby Schaaf, also a Task Force Co Chair said. “We must take this unprecedented pandemic to create an unprecedented justice for people of color and vulnerable residents. The goal of our task force is to elevate the reality of racial disparities in healthcare and do everything we can to fix them right now and for the long term.”
STRATEGIES THAT THE TASK FORCE WILL WORK TO ADVANCE INCLUDE:
- Write and enact state and federal legislation with the goal to eliminate the injustice of racial health disparities.
- Development of a COVID-19 Vulnerability Index measure or something similar to inform decisions to strategically target communities most at-risk for prevention and treatment investments
- Proactive collection and review of demographic data and use to inform targeted equity strategies
- Proactive outreach to promote health access for high risk populations with a focus on helping residents connect with a regular health practitioner. This is a key component of addressing health disparities.
- Interventions to reduce health risk factors for COVID-19 hospitalizations and death, such as medically supportive food, that lowers the incidence and severity of common underlying chronic health conditions
- Proactive engagement and outreach by entrusted neighborhood leaders, organizations, and health care providers in communities with high risk to remove barriers to services needed to address health disparities.
- Proactive distribution of PPE to community clinics, organizations, and essential businesses serving populations at high risk
- Provision of basic health and safety supplies and provisions to high-risk populations to aid them in iIsolating and quarantining and home-based recovery if they become ill
- Provision of isolation housing for high risk individuals who cannot safely quarantine at home.
- Culturally appropriate and language specific messaging about staying safe.
- Strategic community test locations in neighborhoods with high-risk populations, partnering with trusted community organizations
- Raising funds and distributing rapid response assistance in neighborhoods with high at-risk populations, through entrusted organizations and existing networks
- Facilitating training for employee organizations and employers on creating a safe work environment.
“During this COVID-19 pandemic, it’s important that we confront the many underlying, preexisting health inequities and racial disparities in our society and communities,” Assemblymember Rob Bonta said. “Through this task force and the coalition we have built to address these issues, I am hopeful that we can push for robust policy changes to reduce and remove health disparities for impacted communities in California.”
➢ Racial Disparities Task Force REPORT
➢ TASK FORCE LEADERSHIP
➢ NEWSLETTERS and UPDATES
➢ TASK FORCE MEETINGS
Strategies to Address the COVID 19 Crisis in the Latinx Community
- Video: COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force Meeting (08.20.20)
- Crisis in the Latino Community (08.20.20)
- Impact in the Fruitvale (08.20.20)
Workers’ Rights and Working Safely in the Era of COVID 19, Collaborations and Challenges
- Task Force Meeting Agenda
- Update from the Alameda County Department of Public Health
- UC Berkeley Labor & Occupational Health
- Letter to Standards Board 5.5.2020
- CalOSHA in Support of Tough Standards 5.5.2020
- Workers' Rights Resources
Testing and Tracing: Innovative Approaches to Contact Tracing and Testing
- United in Health Dr. Kim Rhoads Presentation
- COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force Meeting 6.11.2020
- Final AHS AAPI Community Hub June 2020
Alameda County Health Care Overview of the Pandemic, Model Programs Serving the Most Impacted Communities
- Racial Disparities Task Force Meeting (Inaugural Meeting)
- Alameda County Health Care Services Agency Briefing
- COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force Public Hearing
➢ WORKING GROUPS
1. Community Outreach
2. Protecting Workers
4. Testing, Tracing and Data