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Buffalo, NY | Local News, Weather, Traffic, Sports | WGRZ.com

City of Buffalo addresses concerns over COVID-19 inequities

The most recent numbers show there are 106 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 14215 zip code, more than anywhere else in Erie County.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The most recent numbers show there are 106 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the 14215 zip code, more than anywhere else in Erie County. It's a community that's 80 percent African American. 

The population with a history of chronic illnesses and many don't have access to a primary care doctor. Dr. Raul Vazquez of GBUAHN Health says these factors alone mean this community could be devastated by COVID-19 more than any other area in Erie County. 

"These individuals didn't have good primary care so have risk factors for heart disease and this puts stress on your system," he told 2 On Your Side's Karys Belger. 

Vazquez is part of the African American Health Equity Task force and has been advocating with others to help people living in the 14215 zip code and similar communities that are being harshly impacted by COVID-19.

He says more preventative measures are needed to really make a difference. 

"If we prepare earlier, we stay ahead of this virus," Vazquez said.

He's still concerned that for many it may be too late. Those concerns were presented to Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown.

"We're providing people with information on how they can keep themselves safe. Educating them about the importance of social distancing," he said.

Mayor Brown says he's been posting information on the city's website and social media pages, and that he and members of his staff have been in the community talking to people one on one.

While that may address the concern about information, there still the question of primary health care.

"That is absolutely a challenge, there is no doubt about it. There are facilities in our community like the community health center of Buffalo. That is a resource people can turn to."

There's also telehealth appointments through GBUAHN Health. Mayor Brown, like Dr. Vasquez, says preventative measures are the best options and he wants people to make sure they use the information they're given.

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