Newport News to participate in health equity pilot program to provide PPEs, public health info to residents

Newport News

A nurse at a drive up COVID-19 coronavirus testing station set up by the University of Washington Medical Center exits a tent while holding a bag containing a swab used to take a sample from the nose of a person in their car, Friday, March 13, 2020, in Seattle. UW Medicine is conducting drive-thru testing in a hospital parking garage and has screened hundreds of staff members, faculty and trainees for the COVID-19 coronavirus. U.S. hospitals are setting up triage tents, calling doctors out of retirement, guarding their supplies of face masks and making plans to cancel elective surgery as they brace for an expected onslaught of coronavirus patients. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News is participating in a pilot program to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and public health information to residents.

Announced by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) and the Health Equity Working Group Monday, the Health Equity Pilot Program is a state-local partnership created to increase equitable access to essential supplies in underserved and historically disadvantaged communities, many of which have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Over 40 localities have been identified for participation in the Health Equity Pilot Program and will receive up to 20,000 cloth masks, bottles of hand sanitizer, and appropriate translated public health materials.

“Newport News residents will benefit tremendously from the lifesaving supplies and information provided through the Health Equity Program,” said McKinley L. Price, DDS, Mayor of Newport News.

“We are proud to collaborate with the Commonwealth and Virginia Department of Emergency Management on this important initiative to protect the lives of those who are often overlooked and underserved, including people of color 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 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 City of Newport News was allocated 20,000 masks and bottles of hand sanitizer through the program and has scheduled community engagement events throughout August at locations people most at risk of contracting COVID-19 can easily and safely access.

During the events, the city will distribute PPE and provide translated public health information. 

Drive-thru COVID-19 tests will be provided by Sentara Healthcare in limited quantities during a select number of events.

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