(Austin, TX) – Central Health is delivering COVID-19 resource kits to businesses, apartment complexes, and faith-based centers located in communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic.
The business outreach effort is part of a campaign called Protect Yourself, Protect Your Family/Protéjase y Proteja a Su Familia, which reinforces coronavirus safety and prevention by working with businesses owned, employing, and serving Latino and African American communities.
“Like most of the country, COVID-19 is impacting Black and Latino residents in Travis County disproportionately and that is unacceptable,” Central Health President & CEO Mike Geeslin said. “Using county-level COVID-19 data from our affiliate CommUnityCare Health Centers, we have identified ZIP codes with the highest infection rates and are delivering toolkits with information and personal protective equipment that will help protect their employees, customers, residents, and parishioners.”
Central Health and CommUnityCare worked with community members to develop culturally appropriate public health messages about wearing masks in public, practicing social distancing, washing hands regularly, and other ways residents can protect themselves and their families and help stop the spread of the virus.
Protect Yourself, Protect Your Family/Protéjase y Proteja a Su Familia deploys outreach staff and vendors with strong community connections – like Latino HealthCare Forum and Community Coalition for Health – and equips businesses with toolkits that include flyers about how to isolate if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 or have tested positive, signage on mask-wearing, social distancing and hand washing, industry-specific safety guidelines, and donated face masks from Sendero Health Plans. All information is provided in English and Spanish.Outreach efforts are focused on the 11 ZIP codes with the highest concentrations of families living in poverty.
Marisol Ramos is the general manager at Ramos Restaurant and Sports Bar in Manor. Upon receiving the kit, she placed safety signage in the windows and distributed masks to both employees and customers.
“We are thankful we received the kits,” Ramos said. “We put the signs up right away, and we are using the masks for not only our staff but also gladly giving customers the masks if they don’t have one.”
Across the nation, the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting communities of color disproportionately. That’s no different here in Travis County. CommUnityCare reports between July 12 – 18, Latinos had a positivity rate of about 52.6%, and positivity rates among Black Americans were 24.2%. Overall, the positivity rate for CommUnityCare testing is 26.5%.
Protect Yourself, Protect Your Family/Protéjase y Proteja a Su Familia is Central Health’s outreach initiative to reach communities most impacted by the virus. Broad community engagement efforts have included media partnerships, culturally competent messaging, stakeholder engagement, and safety and educational resources including a video series featuring community members, artists and faith leaders.
CommUnityCare offers no-cost drive-up COVID-19 testing without an appointment at five sites across Travis County; however, testing cannot keep up with demand, and a limited number of COVID-19 tests are available per location per day. CommUnityCare is focused on testing its patients and people without insurance or a doctor who are experiencing coronavirus symptoms. People with insurance or a regular doctor should contact their provider’s office.
How to Protect Others
- Self-isolate if you have been exposed to COVID-19, are awaiting test results, have COVID-19 symptoms, or have tested positive for COVID-19.
- If you do not have a place to self-isolate call 512-810-7554. Austin-Travis County offers a free, comfortable place to stay for those who can’t safely isolate at home.
To Protect Yourself: Remember the 3 Ws
- Wear a mask in public.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Watch your distance. Stay six feet away from people and avoid anyone who is sick.