(WXYZ) — The Michigan Coronavirus Racial Disparities Taskforce is releasing new recommendations to protect communities of color from the spread of COVID-19 nearly two years after the first cases were confirmed in Michigan.
In April 2020, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced the task force, led by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and other health leaders from around the state.
According to the state, the recommendations help come up with collaborative policy, programming and systematic change and create a lasting structure..
The recommendations focus on three different areas: Strategic testing infrastructure, primary care connections and a centering equity workgroup.
When it comes to testing, the task force recommends improvements to racial and ethnic data collection, a continuation of funding to neighborhood testing and vaccination sites, and establishing a process to send alerts to community partners regarding COVID-19 infection rates and problem areas.
The task force also recommends decreasing the number of people uninsured or underinsured, maximizing the use of school-based clinics, use technology and data to reduce racial disparities and increasing inoculation rates.
Other recommendations include reducing COVID-19 exposure risks in environmental justice communities and ensuring everyone has access to high-speed internet connection.
“When we saw that COVID-19 was uniquely lethal in communities of color in Michigan, Governor Whitmer and I knew we had to act quickly,” Gilchrist said in a statement. “Two years later, the successes of the Michigan Coronavirus Racial Disparities Task Force in balancing short-term needs with long-term goals have made it a national model on responding to racial disparities and flattening inequities."
A study from the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy found the task force made significant progress toward its goal of reducing racial disparities associated with the pandemic.
“The members of this Task Force have worked tirelessly with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services to develop recommendations to address this crisis that exposed the long-standing inequities for Black Michiganders that have persisted for decades. Now we must make sure to turn these recommendations into actions that reduce and eventually eliminate the racial disparities impacting the health of Michiganders,” said Hon. Thomas Stallworth III, Director of the Michigan Coronavirus Racial Disparities Task Force.
You can read the entire report below.
Michigan COVID-19 Racial Disparities Task Force recommendations by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 Detroit on Scribd