This week, Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center plans to hand out thousands of community care kits to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 in vulnerable areas of Franklin County.
The kits include five face masks, soap, hand sanitizer, water, dental hygiene supplies and educational materials.
"We want to make sure that we’re helping people to get back on their feet and stay on their feet, so these folks are not having to enter the hospital with COVID-19 or other conditions because they just didn’t have the appropriate resources,” says Dr. Darrell Gray II, medical director of Healthy Community at the Wexner Medical Center.
Teams will distribute the kits this week at different sites, targeting five zip codes: 43219, 43211, 43207, 43223 and 43203. That includes the South Side, Linden, Hilltop and King-Lincoln neighborhoods.
“We looked at areas in Columbus and Franklin County where not only are we seeing high cases of COVID-19, but overlapping with that we’re seeing high cases of diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer,” Gray says.
Gray says that lower socioeconomic status also contributes to higher risk for COVID-19. Many people in that group work in jobs considered "essential," where they must leave their homes.
“They’re disproportionately people of color and people who live in these areas that have been made vulnerable not only by COVID-19 but other conditions, and so it’s really important that we really reach out to those folks,” Gray says.
Gray says the kits will provide the tools needed to social distance and help slow the spread of the virus.
“Some folks in the community still think COVID-19 is a hoax, and some people don’t understand why we need to wear a mask or why we need to be physically distant,” he says.