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Salt Lake County creates team to help minorities, underserved communities hit by coronavirus

James M. Dobson, Pool Photo, file

Salt Lake County creates team to help minorities, underserved communities hit by coronavirus

By Jacob Klopfenstein, | Posted - Apr. 27, 2020 at 11:09 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson has created a group that will aim to help underserved communities hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Salt Lake County’s Equity for Diverse and Underserved Communities team will include a community liaison, a community communications specialist, and a community business liaison, according to a Monday news release. The three positions are temporary and are funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, according to Wilson’s spokeswoman Chloe Morroni.

“I acknowledge there are gaps in serving the needs of populations experiencing inequities which is also causing disparities, and it is one of my top priorities to ensure we can work to close those gaps,” Wilson said in the release.

The team will prioritize breaking down language barriers and making sure people in underserved communities have access to the information they need, according to the release.

Other priorities will include making sure testing access is equitable, providing transportation to testing sites, supporting ethnic-owned businesses and ensuring diverse, immigrant and refugee populations have food security.

Data has shown some underserved communities and minority populations, especially Hispanics and Latinos, have been disproportionately affected by the crisis. State leaders have moved to confront the data disparity for minority groups in the past week.

Last week, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced the creation of a multicultural subcommittee on the state's coronavirus task force that will also focus on addressing issues facing underserved communities and minority groups as the pandemic continues.

Six Utah ethnic minority legislators also announced last week they have formed a COVID-19 response program that will help members of underserved populations deal with the ongoing crisis.

Salt Lake County’s team will work with other Salt Lake City and Utah groups, as well as the county’s Office for New Americans and Office for Diversity and Inclusion, the release says.

“Our community is strengthened by diversity and we need to step up our services to those who have historically lacked equitable access and opportunity,” Wilson said.

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