A legislative task force will meet for the first time on Monday to examine why COVID-19 is hitting African-American communities harder than the rest of the state.
The Legislative Black Caucus asked Gov. Eric Holcomb to create the task force, after numbers showed a spike in COVID-19 within African American communities across Indiana.
“We make up, let's say, 12 percent of the population, somewhere in that number, in the teens, but we are in the 20s, mid-20s of the number of folks who are contracting and dying from this disease,” says State Senator Jean Breaux (D-Indianapolis).
Breaux, who represents District 34, is on the panel. She says the task force will push for more drive through testing and contact tracing in minority communities.
“Many times, communities of color they don’t have access to transportation, they don’t own their own vehicles,” Breaux says.
Breaux says the virus is hitting hardest in places where people are unemployed, under-employed and don’t have access to healthy food.
“Poverty just doesn’t just strike black folks; you’ve got poverty in rural communities too and their numbers are becoming concerning,” she adds.
The task force has until June 30 to come up with a corrective action plan to address these disparities and the rising infection rate in the state prison system.