CDC?s National Initiative to Address COVID-19 Health Disparities Among Populations at High Risk and Underserved, Including Racial and Ethnic Minority Populations and Rural Communities (OT21)The Florida Department of Health in Duval County (DOH-Duval) is seeking OT21 funding to address COVID-19 health disparities among populations at high-risk and underserved in Jacksonville, FL. Located on the Northeast coast of Florida, Jacksonville has a population of approximately 846,949 residents and has been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As of 4/27/21, there has been 89,072 confirmed or probable cases of COVID-19, 2,011 hospitalizations, and 1,314 deaths. Black residents, those of Other races, and Hispanics are at higher risk for COVID-19 and have been selected as priority populations for this grant. Approximately 8% of white residents and 7% of non-Hispanic residents in Jacksonville have been infected with COVID-19. In contrast, 12% of black residents, 18% of residents of Other races, and 10% of Hispanic residents have been infected with COVID-19. Moreover, although Black residents represent 32% of the population, they account for 40% of all COVID-19 hospitalizations. Racial disparities also exist in vaccine uptake. To date, 24% of Jacksonville residents are fully vaccinated, having completed either the Pfizer or Moderna series or the single-dose Janssen vaccine. Approximately 23% of white residents have been fully vaccinated, compared to 14% of black residents. In addition, only 13% of Hispanic residents are fully vaccinated, compared to 20% of non-Hispanic residents. These racial and ethnic disparities in COVID-19 cases and vaccination are more apparent in certain zip codes in Jacksonville, highlighting the importance of implementing place-based initiatives that are culturally and linguistically tailored to better reach populations that are at higher risk and underserved. Three strategies will be implemented to address these disparities in
COVID-19 and advance health equity: 1) Expand existing and/or develop new mitigation and prevention resources and services to reduce COVID-19 disparities among populations at higher risk and that are underserved, 2) Build, leverage, and expand infrastructure support for COVID-19, and 3) Mobilize partners and collaborators to advance health equity and address the social determinants of health as they relate to COVID-19 disparities among populations at higher risk and that are underserved. DOH-Duval will expand and enhance the promising work conducted locally during the COVID-19 response, while also engaging new partners from minority serving organizations to better reach populations at higher risk and who are underserved. Moreover, DOH-Duval will hire a Health Equity team and establish a COVID-19 taskforce as a subcommittee of Duval County?s Community Health Improvement Plan (CHIP) partnership to provide advice, guidance, and recommendations for addressing COVID-19 disparities and advancing health equity. Key external partners for this grant include the City of Jacksonville, UF Health, Voices Institute, the Refugee Taskforce, the Housing Authority, the Mayor?s Hispanic Advisory Board, Safe Future Foundation, First Coast Black Nurses Association, Philippine Nurses Association of Northeast Florida, Muslim American Social Services (MASS) Clinic, Northeast Florida AHEC, Duval County Medical Society, and Inspire to Rise. At the end of the two-year project period, DOH-Duval will be able to demonstrate 1) a reduction in COVID-19 related health disparities, 2) improved and increased contact tracing among populations at higher risk and that are underserved, and 3) improved capacity and services to prevent and control COVID-19 infection among population at high risk and that are underserved.