Community leader says there’s more state can do for minorities during pandemic


FILE – This undated electron microscope image made available by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in February 2020 shows the Novel Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2. Also known as 2019-nCoV, the virus causes COVID-19. The sample was isolated from a patient in the U.S. On Tuesday, April 21, 2020, U.S. health regulators OK’d the first coronavirus test that allows people to collect their own sample at home, a new approach that could help expand testing options in most states. The sample will still have to be shipped for processing back to LabCorp, which operates diagnostic labs throughout the U.S. (NIAID-RML via AP)

SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The numbers show COVID-19 disproportionately affects minorities in America. In Arkansas, the Dept. of Health said 250 Marshallese people were tested over the weekend, with four coming back positive. The governor’s team reiterated efforts to help those groups in his Monday presser.

Over the past week, Mireya Reith, Arkansas United’s executive director, said she’s seen additional emphasis from the department of health. That includes Marshallese and Hispanic people being reflected in daily briefings, a stronger commitment to language access and an investment in mobile testing vehicles for low-income communities.

Leaders should work alongside community groups to fight the pandemic, Reith said.

“We celebrate the efforts that they’ve put in place now, but we’ve only hit the tip of the iceberg of the needs ahead,” Reith said.

Language access is definitely a bigger priority now, Reith said, but the state needs to continue pushing for ways to get information out to these communities.

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