Louisville Board of Health to consider declaring racism a local health crisis

Louisville Board of Health to consider declaring racism a local health crisis

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - As COVID-19 case numbers continue to rise in Jefferson County, the Louisville Metro Department of Health and Wellness is taking a look at where the problem areas are what problems could pop up later.

At the same time, the Louisville Metro Board of Health is looking for a way to acknowledge racism as a health crisis in Louisville.

“There is overwhelming support,” board chairperson Heidi Margulis said. “Let’s work on a way to make [declaring] that possible.”

A number of board members expressed their desire Wednesday to effect a systemic change of health care in Jefferson County. Although it’s an issue the city has acknowledged for years, the board of health said the system has been exposed now more than ever as minority Louisvillians fight the battle against COVID-19.

They wouldn’t be the first board of health to make such a declaration. Other regulatory boards have made similar decrees, like most notably in Franklin County, Ohio.

Heidi Margulis said if the COVID-19 pandemic gets under control in Jefferson County, it will because of the businesses that have stepped up to help, like the ones helping provide necessary equipment for students now learning at community learning labs as opposed to at school.

"Other businesses in the community have sent PPE and other support items to get those up and running, said Margulis. “Probably about 20-30 of them that are serving more than 20 students at a time.”

The city of Louisville is also nearing the end of federal funding they received to handle the pandemic, so now it’s about making the most of the funding they have left.

“I’m working on spending that money not just for COVID, but for directly related things like testing and tracing that we’re building up,” said chief health strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer, “but also for other things that have been impacted by COVID that will help the city get healthy moving forward.”

For a list of COVID-19 testing sites, click here.

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