The county council approved a $5.59 million special appropriation Tuesday to help Latino communities who have been hit hardest by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Today the Council approved $5.59 million to deploy culturally competent health resources, testing & public education in areas hardest hit by #COVID19. CMs @albornoz_gabe & @nancy_navarro spearheaded funding to create Por Nuestra Salud y Bienestar.
— Montgomery Council (@MoCoCouncilMD) July 28, 2020
The special appropriation, initiated by Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz and Nancy Navarro, will help establish Por Nuestra Salud y Bienestar (For Our Health and Wellbeing). This initiative will provide wrap-around services, including COVID-19 testing, health resources and public education geared toward Latino residents, according to the county council.
Latino communities have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 in the county, according to data from the county’s department of health and human services. Regardless of efforts to flatten the curve, communities of color are still impacted more by the coronavirus pandemic, the county council stated.
Silver Spring, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Montgomery Village and Rockville include the 10 hardest hit zip codes and all have high Latino populations, according to the county council.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated existing gaps in healthcare access for our communities of color,” Councilmember Navarro said in a recent statement.
“Since the early days of the pandemic, I have worked to mitigate this impact by providing the Elrich administration with strategies and solutions, so that vulnerable constituents received access to healthcare services and other resources in a culturally and linguistically proficient manner,” Councilmember Navarro added.
The Latino Health Steering Committee of Montgomery County and the Latino Health Initiative will partner with the county’s department of health and human services for the project.
The project will also partner with organizations such as CASA de Maryland, Mary’s Center for Maternal and Child Care and several faith and community-based organizations.
“This moral document will also serve as a guide to protect our Black and Asian communities from this deadly virus,” Councilmember Albornoz said in a statement.
“As public servants, it is our moral responsibility to safeguard County residents, particularly our most vulnerable, from the lethal impacts of this pandemic.”
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