DeWine Lays Out Strategy To Address Racial Health Disparities

May 21, 2020

Gov. Mike DeWine rolled out the first steps to a plan to address racial disparities in the fight against COVID-19 which he says has only highlighted a problem that has existed for generations.

DeWine says the impact of COVID-19 on people of color hard is a form of inequality.

For example, about 25% of confirmed cases are African Americans, who only make up about 13% of the state's population.

"When we see something disproportionately affecting some of our citizens, we have an obligation to act, we have an obligation to do something," says DeWine.

DeWine says the state will implement several recommendations from his Minority Health Strike Force, which includes:

  • Establishing culturally appropriate, accessible COVID-19 exposure notification services
  • Expanding testing capacity and access for minorities in high risk populations
  • Using data to prioritize resources in communities with the highest need
  • Developing and launching a statewide, culturally sensitive outreach campaign that educates African Americans and other communities of color on COVID-19

The state also created maps that show more data regarding race and "opportunities levels." DeWine says these maps can be used to identify communities that need more attention.

The state announced Thursday that banquet halls and catering companies are allowed to resume operations beginning June 1.

The reopening of the sector is geared towards allowing weddings to resume.

Lt. Gov. Jon Husted says the banquet halls and catering companies will have to follow the same safety guidelines imposed on restaurants and bars.

"We're trying to be consistent with everybody. If you can do it in a restaurant facility, you should be able to do it in these other facilities," says Husted.

Those protocols include allowing for six feet of distance between tables with a limited amount of people at each table. And attendees must primarily stay in their seats. This means limited mingling and no dance floor.