After data from the Santa Clara County Public Health Department showed how Latino neighborhoods in East San Jose are among the hardest hit by COVID-19, local leaders have formed a health and racial equity task force to address the disparity.
As of Thursday, five East San Jose ZIP codes—95127, 95122, 95111, 95112 and 95148—comprised more than 26 percent of the 2,701 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county. A recent analysis from the Mercury News also found that more than a third of the county's first 100 deaths from COVID-19 lived in those same neighborhoods.
The newly formed task force, which is being spearheaded by San Jose Councilwoman Magdalena Carrasco, will focus on formulating policy ideas that address health disparities in Santa Clara County.
“The pandemic didn’t produce these disparities, it just simply has highlighted the issues that we’ve been working on, and those that have been, woefully, still unattended [to],” Carrasco said at virtual press conference Thursday. “We need to target our scarce resources to these impacted communities who are struggling to meet their basic needs.”
The East Side councilwoman added that the task force will cover topics such as multi-lingual COVID-19 messaging, culturally appropriate contract tracing, community engagement and disaggregated data analysis, to name just a few.
Assemblyman Kansen Chu (D-San Jose), whose district includes two of the hardest-hit ZIP codes in the county, will serve as vice chair of the task force. During the news conference Thursday, Chu said that he already put in a budget request with the state to aid Santa Clara County in “culturally appropriate outreach.”
“This is really the time that we start to addressing the issues so when the ... second wave of COVID-19 hits us, we are prepared,” he told reporters at the event. “We need to do better and we should do better.”
The task force held its first meeting Thursday afternoon and included participants from Destination: Home, the African American Community Service Agency, Gardner Health Services and the Indian Health Center.
Health and Equity Task Force Hearing
Posted by Magdalena Carrasco on Thursday, May 28, 2020