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African Americans Still Facing Higher COVID-19 Related Death Rate
By Betti Halsell Contributing Writer
Published April 30, 2020

Los Angeles Mayor Garcetti is interested in forming a Task force prioritizing Underserved communities.

Los Angeles City Mayor Eric Garcetti at L.A. City COVID-19 Briefing April 27. (Screen Shot)

Monday, April 27, the City of Los Angeles heard from its Mayor, Eric Garcetti, as he shared the latest news surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak in L.A. and the surrounding areas. Mayor Garcetti addressed many concerns, such as the time expectancy Los Angeles will re-open the economy and on the higher death rate found in African American Communities.

 

Mayor Garcetti reviewed the updated data surrounding COVID-19; he reiterated the significance of testing and how they guide the course of his decisions.  He provided principles that align with the county department’s benchmarks; he shared that Angeleno’s lives are of upmost priority.

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The Los Angeles City mayor shared the latest update behind the COVID-19 outbreak in L.A., announcing that as of April 27, there were 29 additional deaths; 25 of these individuals were between the ages of 65 and over, 18 of them with underlining health conditions. Three people were between the ages of 41-65, with one of them having preexisting health concerns. This brings the total COVID-19 related deaths in the L.A. County to 942.

 

The significant rise in death rates within the African Community is a pressing matter, Mayor Garcetti addressed it by noting the largest test site in the county is the Crenshaw Christian Center, which is located in a high-density living area for African Americans. Mayor Garcetti stated, “This virus doesn’t discriminate in terms of who can get infected; it does discriminate in terms of the outcome.”

 

When asked if there is room on the agenda for a proactive task force and opportunity for activists and experts to represent underserved communities that can join him in these briefings, he responded, “I love the idea of a taskforce … I think it should focus on the disproportionate impacts among our poor, homeless, among people who are part of ethnic groups that are disproportionately dying or being affected,” he said, agreeing to having experts come in who are prioritizing underserved communities.

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Other concerns were of employment and serving housebound elderly Angelenos. People who are between the ages of 65-and-over with underlining health conditions, are part of the most at-risk groups to have a fatal outcome from contracting coronavirus. Their best defense is to stay at home, which creates the issue of food supply and access to needed provisions. Mayor Garcetti announced a contract between L.A. County and Serving Our Community, that feeds the city’s elderly. Serving Our Community initiative is an institution launched by Hospitality and Training.  It converts industrial-sized kitchens and laid-off hospitality employees into fully staffed facilities that deliver food and provide cleaning services. Hospitality and Training (HTA) was granted a regional master service contract by the State of California. 75 percent of the funding for the service comes from FEMA.

 

Last week, Mayor Garcetti reiterated the most efficient fight against COVID-19 is within testing aggressively. Last week, there were 30 active testing sites available; as of April 27, there are 35 testing locations. 120,000 people have been tested for COVID-19. There is a testing capacity that is prepared for 12,000 people a day across the L.A. County. Garcetti specified the best defense and most efficient way to recovery is to adhere to the social distancing guidelines. Regarding the Safer at Home order being lifted, the Mayor Garcetti suggested that many businesses will not re-open by May 15.  He expressed the recovery plan is being developed in “Snapshots.” He said the most sufficient action is to open the economy in “baby steps,” aligning with the California State Governor.  The most likely notion will be to open each business in sanctions and manage the outbreak as it fluctuates.

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