The Greater New Haven Clergy Association says more needs to be done in communities of color as the cases of COVID-19 continue to grow in the city.
“People have been laid off their jobs, there is no money coming in,” said Rev. Dr. Boise Kimber, adding he’s seeing a people in his community hit hard by the coronavirus.
“There is hunger that is going on in Newhallville right now. There are people calling everyday trying to see where they can get food to feed their families.”
He says hunger and the lack of test sites are significant issues. He also says the city has released no data regarding communities of color.
“We do not have the number of individuals who are dying within our community. There is no data.”
But the city began releasing demographic data last week. New numbers for Monday show 691 cases in New Haven: 145 African Americans, 87 Hispanic or Latino, 79 White, six Asian.
Another 373 cases -- more than half in the city – are of an unknown race because that data wasn’t collected during testing. The city only receives the information that collection sites provide.
“When the form gets submitted to us through our surveillance system, there’s a gap in the data,” said city Health Director Maritza Bond.
She says they are still able to get a good idea of the spread. They’ve created a heat map of cases throughout the city. It’s a detail Kimber wanted to know.
“The data will help us to know how many black and brown people are dying and where there needs to be testing sites set up,” said Kimber.
According to the most recent data, there are now 15 deaths, at least eight being people of color. The current cases show up in Fair Haven to the east, and Newhallville, Dixwell, and The Hills to the west. The maps provide details on clusters of cases and help the city work with facilities in the area.
Bond says the city is also making sure information is accessible to the public. They launched the online New Haven Coronavirus Hub with bilingual information for the faith community, nursing homes and other community organizations.
“We are very much interested in making sure we’re communicating and working collaboratively with community leaders on the ground level to be our messengers,” said Bond.
Kimber also raised an issue with access to testing.
“We are asking that there would be a testing site set up in poor communities where people can drive up or walk up to be tested,” said Kimber.
It’s another issue the city says they’re working on. On Mayor Justin Elicker’s daily update call on Friday, he said CVS has plans for a drive-up testing site in New Haven. Bond says they’ll have an announcement soon about new testing locations, and pointed out they’re keeping access in mind.
“We’re working with our community health centers to expand their testing within their respective communities, and then an additional site that we’re looking to is a walk up testing for individuals that do not have a vehicle,” said Bond.
To slow the spread of the virus, she points to data that shows 47 percent of the cases are people ages 25-49. It’s a key group she says needs to be aware of their ability to spread the virus.
“Individuals that are out in the community and not thinking this can potentially affect them, we really do want to send a message to younger populations that it’s important to stay safe and stay home.”
She says anyone who needs help or has questions about resources relating to COVID-19 can use the city's SeeClickFix app, or call 211.