In recent weeks, the disproportionate numbers of black people losing the battle against COVID-19 have made national headlines. The stories shine a light on underlying health issues and healthcare disparities facing people of color.
News 6 Morning Anchor Bridgett Ellison spoke with some local nurses from the outreach group Black Nurses Rock about the racial issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic as well as ways to create better relationships, awareness, education and access to care in underserved communities.
“When we think about what the CDC states as people at higher risk of getting very sick from this disease, that’s older people, people with serious chronic disease, hypertension, high blood pressure, lung disease,” Katina Wilson, MSN, APRN, AOCNP, said. “These are things very common in the African American community, so these things contribute to that. Dr. Fauci said it’s not that African Americans are getting infected more often, rather than the prevalence of underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, obesity and asthma have led to higher intensive care admissions and death rates among the African American community.”
Taiche Griffin, FNP-C, added to the discussion noting how some in the black community lean toward home remedies or sleeping off symptoms which can be dangerous and deadly. Griffin also stressed the importance of seeking timely treatment for ongoing issues, not just coronavirus symptoms.
[WEB EXTRA: Watch full interview below]
“In the African American community, you know that as far as financial means, that’s going to be strained within the community, so if you don’t have a PCP (primary care provider), you should reach out to the healthcare departments to make an appointment and community health centers as well," Wilson said. "That’s low income, free to get treatment, you can start there as well as urgent care. I think going to the health department or community health centers, it’s a great start because not only will you be able to be treated or they will tell you where to go to get treated for COVID-19, but you can also establish a relationship, a professional patient relationship and continue on treatment for other comorbidities one may have.”
Wilson said as more businesses reopen, people still need to take safety precautions to prevent spreading illness.
“I think we have to continue to be smart, doing the basic things, washing our hands as often as possible, sanitizing them, don’t touch your eyes, your face, your hands, cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze," Wilson said. "Also, continue social distancing as much as possible still. You know, wearing a face mask when you’re in close contact with others. I’ve seen on social media and the internet, we’ve had these holiday gatherings and Easter gatherings, quarantine parties. Having gatherings, parties, we need to avoid unnecessary gathering, stay home when you’re sick. I would say we have to take it seriously, not only COVID-19, but other comorbidities.”
The nurses also discussed ways to deal with mental health issues arising from the pandemic, ways to eat healthy on a budget, and how long we most likely have to wear masks. Watch the full interview video at the top of the story for more details.
Black Nurses Rock also recently volunteered to help with COVID-19 testing sites and they're making masks and donating them to Orlando Health and Advent Health, as well as planning to donate to students in the Jones High School Medical Magnet program when they return.
Connect with Black Nurses Rock Orlando online: