The Latest on the Coronavirus Outbreak

State leaders address health disparities related to COVID-19 during webinar

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) – As the number of COVID-19 cases grow, the racial breakdown of those killed continues to be refined.

“We’ve long known these issues not only exist in Baton Rouge but across Louisiana,” said East Baton Rouge Parish Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome.

Tuesday, the Urban League of Louisiana hosted a webinar addressing key issues surrounding the racial data and its disparities. As of Tuesday, African Americans remain the highest group affected by 59 percent.

“One of the reasons we’re seeing people, African Americans specifically have more challenges with covid-19 and to be clear, dying at higher rates, disproportionally higher rates is because of the underlying conditions that are present.”

Doctor Alex Billioux with the Office of Public Health says we need to further discuss why there is such a huge gap and how we resolve it.

“We have to keep digging deeper, below that and if we dig one layer below that, we know that the reason the African American community has higher levels is because not only a lack of access to health care,” said Billioux.

He said there are several issues other than what data is showing.

“Stable housing, lack of access to healthy foods, transportation, lack of access to a living wage.” 

Dr. Earl Benjamin Robinson with the Louisiana Department of Health said they’re addressing the issue and plan to take action.

“Inside the state of Louisiana, the leadership has given us, my office the liberty to create a plan.”

As we await those plans to pan out, Broome says it’s important that we continue to work and have a dialogue to get past this pandemic.

“As we move forward, that we are addressing the issues that will move us beyond the crisis of COVID-1919 into a safe and healthier community.”

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