FRESNO, California. (KSEE) – Fresno’s most vulnerable populations are getting some help in the form of a multi-million dollar grant.
The US Department of Health and Human Services announced the award of $4 million to increase contact tracing, testing, and vaccinations.
Community health workers will be going to areas with high COVID-19 case numbers and low vaccination rates.
“We’ll be targeting the lowest vaccinated zip codes, which also on a health disparity level also have some of the lowest health outcomes,” Gregory Barfield, the assistant city manager of Fresno said.
He said the funds will go toward hiring and training community health workers who will go door to door in seven of the city’s most vulnerable zip codes. The campaign will connect residents with health resources, and focus on vaccinations among racial and ethnic minority populations.
“The conversation may start off easy. ‘Hey, how are you doing today? Have you been to the doctor lately?’ moving all the way through COVID-19 and the vaccine,’ Barfield said.
The city will be partnering with five community-based organizations which will focus on outreach.
Margarita Rocha of Centro La Familia said they’ll be pushing to get clear and simple health messages out to the community.
“The messaging has to be structured so it reaches the different language populations that we have,” she said.
Rocha anticipates at least 20 community health workers will be brought on board and targeted well-being related campaigns will soon start running on various media platforms.
“The information that they need to know about wellness, particularly in the COVID era that we’re in needs to be better. We need to develop better messaging. We need to be out in the community in larger groups,” she said.
Organizers said ideally, they’d like to get out in the community and be going door-to-door within the next 60 days.