Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker to prioritize accessible healthcare in minority community, reaffirms mandate to wear masks
May 6, 2020
Illinois health officials reported Wednesday 2,270 new cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 and 136 coronavirus-related deaths over the past 24 hours, bringing state totals to 68,232 and 2,974, respectively.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker pledged to invest resources in assisting communities disproportionately affected by the novel virus. “Our data from the start until today shines a concerning spotlight on which of our residents are most likely to get sick from COVID-19,” said Pritzker.
Pritzker cited decades of racial disparities and challenges introduced by systemic racism toward an imbalance in healthcare accessibility.
Joined onstage by President and CEO of Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Jaime di Paulo and University of Illinois Director of Emergency Medicine Marina Del Rios, Pritzker revealed Illinois’ Latinx community tests positive for COVID-19 at the highest rate, despite only 7.6% self-identifying of Hispanic.
According to Pritzker, 60% of the 26,000 members of the Latinx community tested for COVID-19 came back positive for the virus, more than tripling the state average.
In response to growing disproportionalities among communites affected by COVID-19, Pritzker declared his intention to prioritize healthcare centers “better equipped” to combat the transmission of COVID-19 within predominantly minority communities.
“In bringing in our public partners in the Latino communities, we are proactively focused on community health centers that prioritize accessible services and are often home to bilingual staff,” said Pritzker.
The Illinois governor also addressed the challenges his May 1 mandate requiring face coverings in public spaces. “At this time, face coverings are required in public situations where social distance cannot be maintained,” said Pritzker. However, those medically unable to wear a mask are not required to do so.
Said Pritzker, “I recognize this is a new practice for many in Illinois and the United States but it’s on us to change how we think about face coverings. Protecting your fellow Americans by wearing a face covering in public is a collective act of patriotism.”
Once Pritzker conceded the stage to Del Rios, the Emergency Ultrasound Research Director at University of Illinois-Chicago implored residents to stay home from work when sick. Speaking directly to the Latinx community, Del Rios said, “If you have any symptoms suggestive of COVID-19, take time off from work and seek medical attention immediately for your own safety and for that of your co-workers and family.”
COVID-19 testing is available in Illinois free of charge and offered indiscriminate of citizen status.
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