Utah has moved from red to orange to yellow in the last few weeks, meaning it is now acceptable in most areas to do things like dine-in at restaurants, have gatherings of 50 people or less, and resume normal activity at gyms. Of course, all of these things still require some precautions. We are still advised to wear masks when possible, continue keeping space between us and washing hands.
Even as we move to open up the state, we know that there are some hotspots where people have been more heavily impacted than others. Data shows us that some communities continue to make up larger proportions of sick and hospitalized individuals, and our state continues to see a plateau and not a reduction in hospitalizations specifically in these communities. Beyond that, epidemiologists are predicting a resurgence of cases in the fall.
So what does all this mean for Utah?
Acknowledging that the pandemic isn’t impacting us all in the same way, and understanding that there are key interventions that are proven to work well in combating this crisis are going to be instrumental in beating this in the future. We know, for example, that community health workers – trusted advocates helping community members to navigate the healthcare and social services systems – are a key tool in the toolbox for reaching people who are at particular risk. We know that contact tracing done by trained staff is also incredibly helpful in notifying and tracking those who may have been exposed.
Contact your legislators and ask them to fund these two specific key public health measures in order to support the communities that are experiencing the coronavirus differently and at greater rates than others.
As a response to anticipated budget shortfalls, the state legislature is expected to call itself into special session as early as June to consider major budget cuts.
Knowing what works to combat this disease, it is crucial that legislators hear about this before making broad cuts to the department of health without boosting funding in these critical areas.
What You Can Do
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Read this oped to familiarize yourself with the disparities within our communities and best practices for how to close that gap.
- The CDC has developed a great resource to help better understand the place contact tracing can have in combatting the pandemic. Click here to learn about contact tracers and why it is important to advocate for them as a key component to opening the economy safely.
- Look over Gov. Herbert’s Utah Leads Together 3.0 plan, specifically looking at the recommendations starting on page 9 for multicultural communities.
- Funding for community health workers will enable the state to help the hardest hit communities during the coronavirus pandemic.
- Funding for trained contact tracers will help us manage spikes in cases and prevent spread as we resume business and activities in the state.
- Do you have a personal story about how these resources would benefit you or your community? Share it!
Scroll down to write your letter using our simple email tool.
How to make sure your letter is successful:
- Use a clear and specific subject heading.
- Start with a salutation (“Dear …”).
- Be CIVIL, PERSONAL and as CONCISE as possible.
- Mention that you are a CONSTITUENT and include your full address with zip code.
- Sign your name at the end.