County participates in state health equity program

Published 6:00 am Saturday, October 3, 2020

Prince Edward County is distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) and public health information to vulnerable populations in the community.

A recent press release from the county stated the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and the Health Equity Working Group announced a pilot program with Prince Edward County.

The Health Equity Pilot Program is a state-local partnership aimed to increase equitable access to PPE and public health information in underserved and historically disadvantaged communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

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More than 70 localities have been identified for participation in the Health Equity Pilot Program, including Prince Edward County.

County officials are committed to the equitable distribution of these resources and have been allocated 10,000 masks and 10,000 bottles of hand sanitizer through this program. 

“The supplies provided through the Health Equity Program will help to keep Prince Edward County citizens safe and to take the necessary precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19,” Prince Edward County Board of Supervisors Chair Jerry Townsend said. “This is an excellent initiative that helps to protect the lives of those who are often overlooked and underserved, including people of color, the elderly and low-income communities.”

The Health Equity Program uses a data-driven approach to select areas in the commonwealth that are most in need and where residents are most at risk of contracting COVID-19. Communities were identified using indicators such as chronic diseases, household income, age, disability status and other important health factors.

The Health Equity Leadership Task Force provides leadership to the Unified Command Health Equity Work Group, which was formed at the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak in Virginia. This working group is the first ever in Virginia’s history to ensure a health equity lens is applied during an emergency response. Dr. Janice Underwood, the commonwealth’s first Chief Diversity Officer, leads the Unified Command Health Equity Work Group.

The county is partnering with numerous community and nonprofit organizations and the faith community to distribute the PPE to families and individuals.