|Mecklenburg part of $48 million Centers for Disease Control grant|
|Funding for COVID-19 prevention initiatives|
|Published Friday, June 11, 2021 10:00 pm|
|PHOTO | ATRIUM HEALTH|
|Brenda Hoover of Charlotte is vaccinated against COVID-19 at a drive-through site in January. The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave $48.4 million in grants to Mecklenburg County, Wake County Human Services and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services to expand capacity to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.|
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded a $48.4 million grant to Mecklenburg County, Wake County Human Services, and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services June 10 to address health disparities related to COVID-19.
The gift is part of a $2.25 billion national investment to expand the capacity and services of local, state, and federal health departments to stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“These grants demonstrate our steadfast commitment to keeping equity at the center of everything we do,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky M.D. said in a statement. “They are an important step in our unwavering efforts to strengthen our communities’ readiness for public health emergencies — and to helping everyone in America have equal opportunities for health.”
Data has shown that “racial and ethnic minority groups and people living in rural communities have disproportionate rates of chronic diseases that can increase the risk of them becoming severely ill from COVID-19 and encountering barriers to testing, treatment, or vaccination.”
Mecklenburg and Wake are the two largest counties in North Carolina and have the highest number of COVID-19 cases and deaths reported according to NCDHHS. In Mecklenburg, there have been 113,863 cases and 971 deaths while Wake had 89,167 cases and 730 deaths.
In North Carolina, African Americans make up 22 % of the cases reported while 61% of cases reported are from whites.
With the grant, the state will be able to decrease COVID-19 related health disparities, improve and increase testing and contact tracing in high-risk populations such as ethnic and racial communities, and those living in rural areas, and improve services to help fight the deadly virus.
“The pandemic has laid bare longstanding health inequities, and health departments are on the front line of efforts to address those inequities,” said José T. Montero M.D., director of CDC’s Center for State, Tribal, Local, and Territorial Support. “These grants will provide these health departments with much needed support to address disparities in communities that need it most.”
The initiative is funded through the 2021 Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act.
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