BUFFALO, N.Y. — As more information is released about COVID-19, local community leaders are continuing to raise concerns over how the pandemic will affect communities of color in Buffalo and Erie County.
The African American Health Equity task force recently called on local leaders to take steps toward making sure communities of color, particularly on Buffalo's East Side, get access to testing. The concern is that the chronic health conditions that already exist in communities of color will cause the COVID-19 pandemic to be even more devastating.
Dr. Raul Vazquez of GBUAHN Health says he's been working to formulate a community action plan involving various stakeholders to help connect people living in these communities with primary care doctors if they do not already have one.
Vasquez says connecting people with doctors is important because it's harder to get people tests when they don't have a recommendation from a doctor. He says he wants to make sure as many people as possible can get tested when more kits become available.
Vazquez's plan includes working with local community organizations and leaders to connect people with doctors and using telemedicine services so people can get tests if they need them and medicine once it becomes available.
"There's a lot of providers that can really help to telehealth these individuals in addition, once that happens, really decide how we're gonna do this you know so once you have people that are identified, what do we do then? And we as a team have been meeting and designing a team for that," Vazquez told 2 On Your Side's Karys Belger.
Dr. Vazquez said in addition to helping connect patients with doctors, he's hoping to try and get his hands on tests so he can get them into communities of color in Erie County that are already being adversely affected by COVID 19.
He also wants to make sure people of color are not hit any harder by the pandemic by making sure their care extends beyond the doctor's office.
Vazquez says the key to making this happen is making sure people get access to transportation, information, and proper nutrition.