During the pandemic and the initial months of vaccination, MS observed disparities in infection transmission, testing, vaccination, and, among those who contracted the COVID-19 infection. On March 11, 2021, the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH) reported the first presumptive positive case of novel coronavirus COVID-19 in a Forest County, MS, resident. As of April 5, 2021, there were a total of 306,851 cases reported, including 187,835 confirmed cases and 118,506 probable cases. There were 130,849 (42.7%) cumulative COVID-19 cases documented in metropolitan counties and 175,492 (57.3%) cases documented in non-metropolitan counties. The case rate of non-metropolitan counties was higher than that observed in rural counties (11,090.5 per 100,000 population versus 9,388.0 per 100,000 population). Among reported cases, 147,322 (48.1%) occurred within individuals identifying as White, 101,001 (33.0%) as Black/African American, 2,304 (0.8%) as American Indian/Alaskan native, 1,543 (0.5%) as Asian, 14,008 (4.6%) as Other, and 40,163 (13.1%) as Unknown. As of April 7, 2021, there have been a total of 1,369,330 COVID-19 vaccine doses administered in MS. As of that date, 568,472 people (about 1 in 5 people) have been fully vaccinated, and 834,140 people have received at least one dose of the vaccine. Of the total doses administered by race, 60% have been administered to White, 31% to Black, 2% to Asian, and 6% to individuals with a `other? race category. By ethnicity, 90% of the total doses have been administered to individuals who reported a non-Hispanic ethnicity, 2% to individuals with Hispanic ethnicity, and 9% to individuals with an `unknown? ethnicity. According to provisional death certificate data from the MSDH Office of Vital Records, approximately 40,120 Mississippi residents died in 2020. When comparing urban and rural counties using the 2013 NCHS urban-rural classification scheme for the same 52-week period, there were 3,988 deaths f
or residents of rural Mississippi counties (age-adjusted rate of 200.4) and 2,079 deaths for residents of urban counties (131.2). The purpose of this project is to reduce the COVID-19-related disparities in the state of Mississippi by expanding the state?s capacity to address social determinates of health to advance health equity. The Mississippi State Department of Health will focus on activities that address the disproportionate access to education, resources, and services to prevent and control COVID-19 infections in high-risk populations. This includes increasing local community capacity in underserved communities. The Mississippi State Department of Health has three specific outcomes that will be achieved by the end of the project. By the end of the project, the program will increase the number of resources available in the state to mitigate and prevent COVID-19 spread in high-risk populations; the program will increase the agency?s capacity to address health disparities related to COVID-19 in high-risk populations; and the program will increase collaborative partnerships to help address health disparities in underserved communities. It is through this funding opportunity that MSDH will be able to assist in this initiative. In order to accomplish this, MSDH looks to: Expand existing and/or develop new mitigation and prevention resources and services to reduce COVID-19 related disparities among populations at higher risk and that are underserved; Build, leverage, and expand infrastructure support for COVID-19 prevention and control among populations that are at higher risk and underserved; & Mobilize partners and collaborators to advance health equity and address social determinants of health as they relate to COVID-19 health disparities among populations at higher risk and that are underserved.